The blunderbuss trumpeting of an anti-Obama narrative is a tactic Trump has employed throughout his political career. Over the years, Trump’s attacks on Obama have veered from the baseless — the president is not an American citizen, Obama tapped my phones — to exaggerations and falsehoods about his predecessor’s record — Obama shipped plane loads of cash to Iran, Obama left the strategic national stockpile empty. In each case, the real estate developer-turned president has used these stories to distract from unwelcome stories while elevating himself and exciting his base. The questionable details are rarely important.

The “OBAMAGATE!” effort appears no different. It has drawn attention away from the rising coronavirus death toll and a spate of cases within the White House — an inconvenient counterpoint to the president’s insistence that it is safe to return to work. It has provided chum to Trump-boosting pundits. And it portrays Trump as victorious over enemies who are tied to his likely 2020 opponent, Joe Biden.

“President Trump always does best when he has a foil to go head to head with,” said Jason Miller, the former communications chair of Trump’s 2016 campaign and co-host of the podcast “War Room.” “But the other thing that’s important here — this is a reminder that Joe Biden is part of the establishment, part of the problem, part of the Washington infrastructure.”