Back to the basement, Joe.
That’s the opinion of one former Obama administration official after former President Donald Trump won Tuesday’s New Hampshire Republican primary.
“If I were Biden, I would stay hidden,” CNN pundit Van Jones said during the network’s election coverage. “And I’ll tell you why: He doesn’t inspire confidence, and he’s not a great messenger for himself.”
Jones, a former special adviser for green jobs in the Obama White House, added that “there’s something wrong with this campaign, where we’re somehow expecting Joe Biden — and frankly, he hid during the last campaign — to start, [to] come out now and be Flash Gordon, and save this — his own campaign.
“The people who are benefiting from the Biden economy, and they exist, should be empowered to speak,” he concluded.
Former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield objected to Jones’ point, saying: “I think Biden ran a very disciplined campaign. I think — the sort of ‘Oh, he hid in the basement?’ Well, remember, we were in the midst of a global pandemic. We were in the midst of a once-in-a-generation crisis. And frankly, the way Joe Biden handled it was reassuring to people, and was a big part of the reason that he was elected president in 2020.”
Former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod, a frequent critic of the Biden re-election effort, responded later in the segment, saying: “I think Joe Biden has done some really extraordinary things, and that history will shine on those. But his performance is a problem. And that is reflected in the polls. And what it translates into is an image of weakness.”
“There is a sense that the world is out of control, and he’s not in command. And that is what Trump is going straight at. And that is what they have to defeat, in this campaign,” Axelrod added. “And they need a counter-narrative. And it isn’t, ‘I’m a great president, he was a lousy president.’”
In the previous hour, Jones had warned that Republicans “are not afraid of Joe Biden. They’re not afraid.
“They don’t think that by putting up somebody this damaged, frankly, this deranged with this many deficits is going to hurt them at all — because the polls show over and over again that even with 978 felonies, he’s still neck and neck with Biden.”
“There’s some worrying signs for Trump,” Jones added. “There has to be worrying signs for Democrats.”
Obama himself has fretted privately that Trump has a very real chance of winning a rematch with Biden in November, according to multiple reports.
Biden’s team has largely shrugged off those grumblings.
“We’re gonna run like we’re behind,” Biden campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond told reporters Wednesday. “Do we think we’re going to win? Absolutely.”
Trump boasts a 3.8 percentage point lead over Biden in the general election popular vote, according to the most recent RealClearPolitics aggregate.