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Biden reportedly still expected to use Trump as foil for ‘foreseeable future’

President Biden mostly stayed out of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. Tim Miller, of the moderate conservative site The Bulwark, praised him for “tonally … living up to his campaign promise” to not “inflame divisions” during the proceedings, even though he had “ample opportunity to do so.” In his response to Trump’s acquittal, Biden, though critical of his successor’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, did seem to focus less on the verdict and more on how to move forward, again calling for “an end to this uncivil war” and the healing of “the very soul of our nation.” That said, Politico reports, don’t expect Biden and his administration to stop talking about Trump anytime soon.

Three people familiar with the situation told Politico the Biden White House will continue to use Trump as a foil “for the foreseeable future” in the hopes of building support for the president’s agenda. The strategy reportedly stems from 2009, when Biden (then vice president) and former President Barack Obama came to believe they didn’t defend their policies forcefully enough from Republican criticism, which they viewed as a major factor in the GOP’s big victory in the 2010 midterm elections.

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“You have to make sure you are making it clear that you are contrasting the person and the policies,” a longtime Biden adviser told Politico. “In some ways, American voters picked Biden to be the opposite of Trump.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean Biden will launch many personal attacks at Trump, however. “They’re trying to draw a governmental contrast, a moral contrast, a values contrast,” Robert Gibbs, Obama’s former White House press secretary told Politico. “Yet at the same time, they’ll try to keep themselves above the day-to-day Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump.” Read more at Politico.