Biden is using the ‘are you better off today’ question to contrast himself with Trump

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One Wednesday March 20, 2024, at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One Wednesday March 20, 2024, at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

DALLAS (AP) — President Joe Biden opened a new line of attack against former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, asking and answering the classic “are you better off today than you were four years ago” question to remind voters of what it was like when Trump was in office.

The Democratic president also criticized Trump for saying over the weekend that a “bloodbath” would follow if he loses to Biden again in November. Trump and his allies defended the rhetoric, saying the Republican’s comments were about the U.S. auto industry. Trump’s critics had a different take.

“Folks, we can’t stand for this,” Biden said in his first public comments on Trump’s “bloodbath” claim. ”We have to say it as Americans, as Democrats, as independents, as Republicans, that there’s no place for political violence … ever. Period.”

Biden sought to turn the tables on Trump with the “better off” riff.

“Speaking of Donald Trump, just a few days ago, he asked the famous question at one of his rallies: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Biden said at a pair of Dallas-area campaign fundraisers, one of which brought in $2.5 million, one of the hosts said.

“Well Donald, I’m glad you asked that question man because I hope everyone in the country takes a moment to think back when it was like in March of 2020,” Biden said.

The Democratic president reminded the audience that the coronavirus had reached America, hospital emergency rooms were overcrowded, first responders were risking their lives to care for the sick and some nurses wore trash bags due to the scarcity of personal protective equipment.

Morgues were being set up outside of hospitals because so many people were dying, unemployment shot up, the stock market crashed and grocery store shelves were bare, Biden said.

“And we were even in a toilet paper crisis,” he added, before he began to describe a turnaround after Trump.

“Donald Trump is no longer president, that’s the first thing,” Biden said, adding that COVID is under control, 15 million jobs returned and the stock market rebounded.

Biden campaign officials say voters who tuned out of the campaign are starting to pay attention to the reality of a Biden-Trump rematch now that they are their parties’ presumptive nominees.

There’s also a view that the public largely has forgotten the turbulence of Trump’s presidency and that, to win reelection, Biden needs to remind them of what it was like as he presents himself as the more stable alternative.

“The problem isn’t just going back to where Trump had the country. It’s where he wants to take us now,” Biden said. “Look to what he’s saying. I hope we’re all going to take it seriously. He means what he says. As crazy as it sounds, he means what he says.”

“Folks, it’s not about me. It’s about him,” Biden concluded.

He also took a crack at U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has aligned himself closely with Trump and is being challenged by Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas.

“You gotta elect Colin as your next senator so Ted Cruz joins another loser, Donald Trump,” Biden said.

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Superville reported from Kissimmee, Florida.

AP Politics

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