From sleepy to senile: Inside the Trump campaign's effort to rebrand Biden

“You’re not going to make Joe Biden hated personally,” said a source involved in the internal discussions. “You can’t do it through personality.”

So they will try to argue that he wouldn’t really be in charge. “You’ve got to make it so that a vote for Joe Biden isn’t a vote for Joe Biden, it’s really a vote for his radical left-wing puppet masters,” the source said.

Between the lines: Trump and some of his top advisers and surrogates have been testing variations on that theme.

Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller often sends out talking points to Trump insiders, which he calls “Quick Bites.” Last Monday’s talkers, reviewed by Axios, included this point: “The left-wing mob controlling Joe Biden’s campaign and the Democratic Party has gone too far. Statues of Teddy Roosevelt and defunding the police is just the beginning, and Joe Biden is too weak to make them stop.”