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Press: It’s Christmas in July for Joe Biden

Joe Biden needed a break. He’s had a ton of bad news lately: inflation; a new strain of COVID-19; low poll numbers; that awkward fist-bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; and, worst of all, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who’s managed to single-handedly torpedo everything Biden’s tried to accomplish. 

Biden needed a break, and he just got one: Donald Trump’s all but announcing he’s going to run for president in 2024. “We did it twice and we’ll do it again,” Trump routinely crows. And he’s reportedly told top aides, who have advised against it, that he can’t wait. He plans to announce in September, before the midterm elections. 

How dumb of Trump, yet how good for Biden. If there were security cameras in place, you might see Biden dancing and singing “Hallelujah” in the Rose Garden. 

Of course, it’s no secret why Trump insists on jumping in so early. He wants to freeze the GOP primary field, and will. Not even uber-ambitious Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would dare challenge the former president, unless Trump is indicted. Trump also wants to keep the GOP money spigot flowing, and will, milking supporters for campaign funds (even though his Save America PAC had $110 million on hand at the end of May). 

Trump may also believe that, by becoming a candidate for president, he could inoculate himself against criminal charges that might be filed against him by Fulton County, Ga., or the Department of Justice, which won’t work. Sitting presidents may be immune from being charged with a crime, but there’s no such protection for anyone seeking the office. 

But, more than anything, Trump wants to announce so soon because he feels oxygen-deprived. When he surfs the cables these days, he panics. People are talking about Ukraine, Uvalde, gas prices, shark sightings or baby formula. It’s not all about HIM. He’s not on the front page anymore. He’s lucky if he’s even on page 18. He can’t stand it. So he figures there’s only one way to get back on top of the news: Announce for president! Now! 

It awakened emotions of faith among leaders of both parties. Joe Biden exults: “Thank you, Jesus!” And most Republicans running for office in 2022 whisper (but only so low that nobody will hear them): “Oh, no. God forbid!” 

What Trump doesn’t get is that, above all, Biden had one thing going for him in 2020, one factor, more than any other, that propelled him into the Oval Office. Yes, he had more experience, both as  a senator and  as vice president. Yes, he knew how government worked. Yes, he might have been a little rusty and maybe too old. But, more than anything else, Biden had one huge selling point: He wasn’t Donald Trump.  

Biden himself admitted that to The New York Times, as Mark Leibovich reports in his rollicking new book, “Thank You for Your Servitude.” Asked by Leibovich early in the 2020 primary why he was running again, Biden didn’t list his own qualifications for office. Instead, he said simply: “I think it’s really, really, really important that Donald Trump not be reelected.” 

Now Biden and every Democratic candidate can make that argument all over again. They don’t even have to wait till 2024. They can make it now, starting in 2022. Before anything else, every Republican candidate will have to answer one question: Will you support Donald Trump in 2024?  

Once he announces, the midterms will become a national referendum on Trump. That’s the last thing Republicans want, but it’s great news for Biden. 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.” 

Tags 2024 presidential election announcement campaign Donald Trump Joe Biden Joe Biden Joe Manchin Mohammed bin Salman News

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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