Trump stays relatively quiet, unseen as Biden struggles to save political future

“We’re trying something new and shutting up,” one source said of the strategy.

July 5, 2024, 3:57 PM

Feeling confident after last week's debate, former President Donald Trump is uncharacteristically staying out of the public eye while questions swirl about President Joe Biden's mental fitness and status of his reelection campaign.

"We're trying something new and shutting up," is how one source described the Trump team's strategy.

Multiple sources close to Trump tell ABC News they're watching and waiting to see how Biden and his campaign answer tough questions about his political future.

Biden will have a critical opportunity to do so when he has a sit-down interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Friday. The first excerpts will air on "World News Tonight" and then the interview will be broadcast in its entirety in a prime-time ABC network special on Friday evening at 8 p.m. ET.

The White House has repeated this week that Biden is not considering stepping down.

Former President Donald Trump attends the LIV Golf Miami Tournament, April 7, 2024, in Doral, Florida.
Anadolu via Getty Images

Trump and his campaign have publicly contended that Biden will end up being the Democratic nominee, while at the same time arguing he's not competent enough to survive through November.

However sources say the campaign is preparing for all scenarios, going on to tout Trump's debate performance and polling they feel is tracking in their direction.

As an example of that, the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee have spent the week highlighting what it said were Vice President Kamala Harris' gaffes and slamming her record. It comes as buzz has built around Harris as a possible Biden replacement should he withdraw.

"Joe Biden is weak, failed, dishonest, and not fit for the White House," senior campaign advisers Chris Lacivita and Susie Wiles wrote in a statement. "Every one of them has lied about Joe Biden's cognitive state and supported his disastrous policies over the past four years, especially Cackling Copilot Kamala Harris."

This week, Trump was filmed outside the clubhouse of his Bedminster golf course where he bashed Biden's chances at reelection, going on to disparage Harris.

"I got him out of the race -- and that means we have Kamala," Trump said in a video someone covertly took of him and obtained by "The Daily Beast," which Trump later posted on his social media platform. "I think she's going to be better. She's so bad. She's so pathetic. She's just so f------ bad."

The Biden campaign responded to the video with a list of some of the "bad" things that have happened under Trump.

“No, Donald. What is bad is taking away women’s rights; What is bad is losing an election and encouraging a violent mob to attack the Capitol," the Biden campaign said in a statement with more than 20 reasons -- including that he has a bad golf game.

Aside from that video, a couple of radio interviews and victory social media posts after the Supreme Court largely ruled in his favor regarding presidential immunity, Trump has remained quiet, allowing the Biden campaign's future to consume the news cycle.

Democrat presidential candidate President Joe Biden listens as Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during their debate in Atlanta, June 27, 2024.
Brian Snyder/Reuters

On Thursday, Trump spent July Fourth evening delivering virtual remarks to veterans in Wisconsin and Florida -- doing so from Bedminster, New Jersey, where he has been staying this past week, Trump himself posted on his social media platform.

Next week, he is set to campaign in Doral, Florida, and Butler, Pennsylvania, ahead of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee later this month -- which will be his first public campaign appearance since his Virginia rally the day after the debate.

The light campaign schedule this past week comes on the heels of Trump campaigning and fundraising back to back in the past few weeks. This has been the case since the conclusion of his hush-money payment trial, which freed him from the Manhattan courthouse, but ended with a jury finding him guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York.

Since the end of the trial in late May, the former president has criss-crossed the country courting wealthy donors in the West Coast and rallying with battleground state voters in Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Biden, in contrast, has been making back-to-back public appearances since the debate in an attempt to prove to the American people that he's fit for the job and ease doubts inside his own party. Biden has hit big and small campaign stops, held multiple campaign fundraisers and participated in official White House events as president.

Sources maintain that Trump is the calmest they have seen him in recent months as he has finally had the time to dive into more of his political life as the courtroom has quieted down.

Democrat presidential candidate President Joe Biden speaks as Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump listen during their debate in Atlanta, June 27, 2024.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The downtime has also given Trump the ability to focus on convention planning and the selection of a vice presidential candidate, aides told ABC News.

A running-mate selection is not a done deal just yet, sources insist to ABC News, but next week could be the marker when the former president chooses to announce his pick ahead of the party's convention starting July 15.

The former president has also been fundraising off of this week's news cycle and the potential announcement of his running mate, claiming to supporters in a fundraising blast Friday morning that Biden "could be dropping out."

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