With the death toll rising and daily life grinding to a halt, Trump’s sprawling political operation has put on hold any plans to use its nine-figure war chest to unload on the former vice president. The strategy, mimicking the playbook of Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign against Mitt Romney, was aimed at crippling the lesser-funded Biden before he could unify the Democratic Party behind him and marshal his forces for November.
The reprieve is a blessing for Biden: Rather than spending valuable time fending off an assault, he is free to present himself as a steady leader amid a national crisis and to regroup for the general election.
The Trump operation’s reassessment underscores how the pandemic has disrupted virtually every element of the campaign for both parties. With less than eight months until Election Day, Trump and Biden are being forced to rethink their plans on everything from fundraising to field operations to staffing.
“With Biden running away with it now, this would have been a good time to define him right off the bat. But it won’t break through now, nor would it look good,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary in the George W. Bush White House. “This hiatus in many ways helps Biden.”