USA-Trump and his allies intensify attacks on Harris – 04/07/2024 at 19:06

USA-Trump and his allies intensify attacks on Harris – 04/07/2024 at 19:06
USA-Trump and his allies intensify attacks on Harris – 04/07/2024 at 19:06

(Updated throughout with comments from Trump, Biden campaign, additional material, details; photo available)

par Nathan Layne, Helen Reid, Alexandra Ulmer et James
Oliphant

Donald Trump and some of his Republican supporters have launched a new wave of attacks on Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris in an attempt to discredit her, amid growing speculation that she will run for president to replace Joe Biden.

For the past forty-eight hours, the Trump campaign appears to have been preparing the groundwork for a possible duel with Kamala Harris in the November 5 election, alongside calls within the Democratic Party for Joe Biden to end his re-election campaign.

While he admitted to having “almost fallen asleep” during the first presidential debate against Donald Trump last week, Joe Biden cited fatigue linked to his international travel and time zone changes on Tuesday, before assuring on Wednesday that he would not end his campaign.

The stammering and inconsistencies of the current occupant of the White House, aged 81, during the televised debate on June 27 sowed panic in the Democratic ranks, with several party figures more or less explicitly evoking the need to invest another candidate for the election.

Kamala Harris, who is once again alongside Joe Biden on the Democratic presidential ticket for the November election, is

the first choice

to replace Biden if he steps down, senior sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters this week.

Although the interested party continues to show her support for Joe Biden, the Trump campaign is taking no risks by stepping up its attacks on the vice president now, with the aim of making her appear weakened if and when she is declared the Democratic Party’s candidate.

“INCOMPETENT”

It’s not unusual for Republicans to criticize Kamala Harris, 59, since Joe Biden took office. But the attacks in recent days mark an escalation that appears coordinated and linked to speculation that Democrats are changing their nominee.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which oversees Republican candidates for the House of Representatives – hundreds of congressional seats will also be up for grabs in November – has described Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s “enabler in chief.”

MAGA Inc., one of the fundraising organizations supporting Donald Trump and whose name is inspired by the Republican candidate’s famous slogan (“Make America Great Again”), has called the Democratic vice president an “invasion czarina.”

This is a reference to the fact that in March 2021, Joe Biden said that Kamala Harris would oversee negotiations with Mexico and Central American countries to stem the flow of unauthorized migrants to the southern border of the United States.

Republicans have since continued to accuse Kamala Harris of failing to prevent the record crossings of millions of illegal immigrants into the United States, even though the vice president was never formally tasked with border security.

“Kamala Harris is incompetent. She has proven herself to be the weakest and worst vice president in history and she has 100% supported Joe Biden in every one of his disastrous policies over the last four years,” accused Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for Donald Trump’s campaign.

FAMILIAR STRATEGY, UNUSUAL DISCRETION

In a video filmed while he was at one of his golf resorts and first reported by The Daily Beast, Donald Trump called Kamala Harris “pathetic.”

“She’s so bad, she’s so pathetic,” he said, before using a vulgar word to describe her.

His campaign team added: “Nothing in this video is incorrect,” wrote the Republican candidate’s co-campaign manager, Chris LaCivita, on the social network X.

“No, Donald, what’s wrong is taking away women’s rights,” a Biden campaign spokeswoman responded, an allusion to abortion rights, which conservatives oppose.

“What’s wrong is losing an election and encouraging a violent mob to attack the Capitol,” Chitika added, referring to the deadly insurrection on January 6, 2021, as Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s victory two months earlier.

The strategy employed by the Trump camp against Kamala Harris is not unprecedented, recalling for example how the former Republican president successfully tried to harm Ron DeSantis last year, even before the governor of Florida, considered his main rival within the party, launched his campaign for the Republican primaries.

More unusually, the voluble Donald Trump has been particularly quiet since Joe Biden’s poor performance in their June 27 presidential debate, keeping a low profile and limiting his public appearances and statements.

Corey Lewandowski, a longtime adviser to Donald Trump, told Reuters that Kamala Harris was politically vulnerable, citing her role in the failed fight against illegal immigration and other issues that are included in a “research dossier” compiled by the Republican Party on the Democratic vice president.

Although Kamala Harris’ approval rating has never been very high since she became vice president, hovering at best around 40% recently, a Reuters/Ipsos poll this week gives her 42% approval rating in a head-to-head election against Donald Trump, who is given a 43% approval rating. That’s a neck-and-neck race similar to the one between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in opinion polls.

(Nathan Layne, Tim Reid and Alexandra Ulmer, with Helen Coster, Jason Lange and James Oliphant; French version Zhifan Liu and Jean Terzian)

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