Biden to stay ‘laser focused’ on legislative accomplishments amid Trump investigations

Gun Rights

By Jeremy Diamond and Arlette Saenz, CNN

President Joe Biden doesn’t plan to allow the investigations into his predecessor to muddy his efforts to tout a recent string of legislative achievements ahead of the midterm elections.

Even as federal and state investigations into former President Donald Trump heat up and dominate headlines, senior administration officials said Biden and his surrogates will be “laser focused” in talking about policies that his administration and Democrats in Congress are delivering. The White House is launching a messaging push in the coming weeks that seeks to tout those accomplishments and paint congressional Republicans as siding with special interest groups and “pushing an extreme MAGA agenda.”

“We understand there’ll be a lot of things that will be in the news, but we’re going to speak to people and their lives,” one senior administration official said. “We think that’s going to get heard. And we think it’s going to get heard because it’s really essential to people’s lives and their concerns.”

A second senior administration official said Biden has “never shied away” from calling out Trump and threats to democracy, but said, “We’re also not going to let that cloud our focus on the progress that we’ve made, on the things that President Biden has been able to do to lower costs for families.”

“We’re going to be laser focused on the things that we’ve done to make progress in people’s lives,” the official said.

The White House has been reluctant to weigh in on the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, stressing the independence of the Justice Department. But the high-profile search has left the White House fighting for space in the news as Biden tried to celebrate legislative wins earlier this week amid the fall out from the search.

The White House previewed its messaging push for the August recess in a memo released Thursday morning, painting Democrats as the successful victors of a battle against special interest groups and Republicans “pushing an extreme MAGA agenda.”

“The President and congressional Democrats beat the special interests and delivered what was best for the American people,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and senior adviser Anita Dunn said in a memo to interested parties shared with CNN and first reported by Axios.

“Every step of the way, congressional Republicans sided with the special interests — pushing an extreme MAGA agenda that costs families.”

The push comes as the White House is hoping to capitalize on the legislative momentum of the Inflation Reduction Act, which the House is expected to take up on Friday, and a slew of other bills that Biden has recently signed into law, stretching back to the bipartisan gun safety bill signed into law in late June.

Democrats plan to tout the sweeping climate, health care and tax measure heading into November’s midterm elections.

The White House has said the President, vice president and Cabinet are also preparing to fan out across the country to promote the legislation and contrast how their work compares to Republicans, though senior administration officials did not provide details of the President’s travel plans.

The memo pinpoints ‘Big Pharma,” corporations not paying federal income taxes, the National Rifle Association and gun lobby and oil and gas companies as special interests to which the Biden administration and Democrats are standing against. The memo also highlights progress made on jobs and gas prices along with passage of the CHIPS and Science Act as accomplishments for Democrats while targeting Republicans’ votes on insulin, opposition to an assault weapons ban, and its push on anti-abortion legislation.

“This is the choice before the American people: President Biden and congressional Democrats taking on special interests for you and your family. Or congressional Republicans’ extreme, MAGA agenda that serves the wealthiest, corporations and themselves,” Bedingfield and Dunn write.

The White House is rolling out its August messaging plan as the President is heading into what’s expected to be a quiet stretch as he spends time with his family in Kiawah, South Carolina — a longtime place of respite for the family, which they last visited in 2015 following the death of Beau Biden. He’s also expected to spend time at his homes in Delaware later on this month.

A senior administration official said Thursday the White House believes Biden’s approval ratings — which fell below 40% over the summer — will tick up as the White House talks up legislative accomplishments in the coming weeks and amid positive economic news.

“I think they (voters) will take a measure of whether things are improving. I think they have taken notice they will take notice of things like falling gas prices,” the official said. “I don’t see these things as frozen in time. I see them as being dynamic and people taking real time assessments of where they are and where they see things going.”

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