The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump embraces underdog role

The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump embraces underdog role
© UPI Photo

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail. 



How the Trump campaign plans to go after Biden

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE trails former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump| Esper orders hundreds of active-duty troops outside DC sent home day after reversal | Iran releases US Navy veteran Michael White Davis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan MORE (D) in national and early state polling, but Trump campaign officials are embracing the role of underdog, believing they can shock the world in 2020 just as they did in 2016.

We spoke to Trump campaign aides and advisers about how they intend to win the race now that Trump’s best selling point — a roaring economy — has been taken off the table due to the coronavirus shutdown.

The first order of business is selling the public on the idea that Trump built a juggernaut economy in four years and that he’s the only one who can do it again. The campaign released a new ad this week selling the idea of an economic recovery, casting the president as the “comeback” candidate.

Trump’s allies acknowledge the polling looks grim at the moment and that there are no guarantees that the economy will be as resilient as many hope.

But they say they’re not sweating it, believing that Biden is benefitting from keeping a low profile and that they’ll be able to tear him down once the campaign begins heating up.

The primary line of attack against Biden will focus on China, with the Trump campaign making the case that Biden’s support of past trade deals harmed U.S. workers and led to the rise of China as a global superpower.


The campaign will also pivot off China to level charges of corruption, pointing to Hunter Biden’s trip on Air Force Two with the then-vice president when he worked on the board of a private equity company with ties to the Chinese government.

The Trump campaign will also lean into the idea that Biden is showing signs of age and is unfit for office. The campaign has been endlessly sharing clips of Biden losing his train of thought or looking down at notes during interviews.

A pro-Trump outside group plans to take up the Tara Reade allegations that Biden denies.

The Biden campaign doesn’t believe Trump has a leg to stand on with any of these issues and will make the case that his softness on China exacerbated the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. They’ll also make the case that it’s Trump who is unfit for office.

— Jonathan Easley


Trump takes underdog role in campaign against Biden, by Jonathan.

Can the Never Trumpers succeed?, by The Hill's Niall Stanage.


Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderTrump official criticizes ex-Clinton spokesman over defunding police tweet Obama to speak about George Floyd in virtual town hall GOP group launches redistricting site MORE endorsed Biden in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, telling the newspaper that he believes the former vice president is poised to continue his work to reform the criminal justice system.

Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: BIO's Michelle McMurry-Heath says 400 projects started in 16 weeks in biotech firms to fight virus, pandemic unemployment total tops 43 million The Hill's Morning Report - Floyd eulogies begin; Trump-Esper conflict emerges The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Val Demings calls for a new DOJ Office of Police Standards; Trump, GOP to pull convention from NC MORE (D-Fla.) said on Wednesday that she would be “honored” to serve as Biden’s running mate, Julia Manchester reports. "If asked, I would be honored to serve alongside Joe Biden and do everything in my power to get this country back on track, not just here in the nation, but around the world,'' Demings said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

A federal judge ordered New York officials on Tuesday to move forward with the state’s June 23 Democratic presidential primary after the state board of elections called it off last week due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports. The decision from Judge Analisa Torres came in response to a lawsuit filed by former Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew YangAndrew YangGeorge Floyd protests show corporations must support racial and economic equality Andrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis MORE, alleging that the decision to remove him from the ballot and cancel the primary had violated his rights.

Progressive organizations are again calling on Biden’s campaign to oust Larry Summers from his advisory role, citing concerns over his stances on environmental issues. The Hill's J. Edward Moreno reports.


Keith Naughton: Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPaul clashes with Booker, Harris over anti-lynching bill Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill Minority caucuses call for quick action on police reform MORE leads Biden VP race.

Bernard Goldberg: Trump faces media bias.


Massachusetts Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyTo address the mental health consequences of the pandemic, follow Kennedy's lead Markey calls Trump 'scum' over comments on George Floyd protests Mental health crisis puts everyone on the front lines MORE (D-Mass.) released his first television campaign ad of the 2020 cycle on Wednesday as he prepares to take on fellow progressive and incumbent Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Dems introduce bill to keep pilots and bus and train operators safe Markey, Harris, Booker to introduce resolution calling for elimination of qualified immunity GOP Massachusetts governor: Trump's compassion 'nowhere to be found' MORE (D-Mass.) in the Democratic Senate primary. You can watch the 30 second spot here.



Biden: 55 percent


Trump: 32 percent


Biden: 54 percent

Trump: 35 percent


Biden: 56 percent

Trump: 33 percent



Biden: 50 percent (+2)

Trump: 41 percent (-3)


Biden: 47 percent

Trump: 40 percent

Amash: 5 percent


(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

May 12:

Nebraska primaries

May 19:

Oregon primaries

May 22:

Hawaii Democratic primary

June 2:

Delaware primaries

District of Columbia primaries

Indiana primaries

Maryland primaries

Montana primaries

New Mexico primaries

Pennsylvania primaries

Rhode Island primaries

South Dakota primaries

June 9:

Georgia primaries

West Virginia primaries

June 23:

Kentucky primaries

July 7:

New Jersey primaries

July 11:


July 14:

Alabama Republican Senate primary runoff

August 11:

Connecticut primary

August 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

August 24-27:

Republican National Convention

One hopeful thing 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, commonly known stateside as Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleMeghan MarkleMeghan Markle calls current events in US 'devastating' Royal family honors International Nurses Day amid coronavirus pandemic: 'Thank you for everything you're doing' The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump embraces underdog role MORE, celebrated their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor’s first birthday, while drawing attention to an important cause on Wednesday. 

Markle read Archie a picture book, "Duck! Rabbit!," in a video recorded by Prince Harry for the U.K. based charity, Save the Children. The charity focuses on health care and anti-poverty efforts. 

You can watch there adorable video here:

The family moved to Los Angeles earlier this year after stepping back from their roles as senior members of the British Royal Family. 

And it appears that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t limited the pair in their philanthropic efforts. The royal couple was seen last month delivering meals to a number of vulnerable Los Angeles residents.

We’ll see you tomorrow for the latest campaign news and updates.