President Joe Biden suggested Tuesday night that Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee facing dozens of state and federal charges, is the reason he's running for a second term.
“If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” Biden said at a campaign fundraiser near Boston. “But we cannot let him win.” Later, when a reporter asked if he'd end his campaign if Trump did, too, Biden said, "No, not now."
The president’s reason for running for another term isn't exactly inspiring. Already, polls show him performing poorly in swing states and among young voters, and his campaign is plagued by concerns about his age and fitness for office, as well as anger over his unconditional support for Israel's war in Gaza. He may need a more rousing argument than what amounts to "I'm still not that other guy" to get voters excited for his campaign.
His comments appear to be part of his pitch as an antidote to Trump. As the 2024 election ramps up, Biden has increasingly warned about the dangers of a second Trump term, focusing his attacks on the many ways his predecessor is a threat to democracy.
That is not all that different from his messaging during the 2020 election, which Biden jumped into after months of consideration. At the time, he positioned himself as a defender of American values and called the race a "battle for the soul" of the country.
Trump has shown that he’s willing not only to break norms while in office, but is also reportedly prepared to condone breaking laws. His criminal trials and his comments about retaliating against his "enemies" have provided the Biden campaign with solid arguments going into the 2024 election.