Debate Prep? Not for Trump, He’s Got to Rally in Philly


Joe Biden may be immersed in debate preparation at Camp David, Maryland, but on Saturday at least, Donald Trump will not be following suit.

Less than a week out from the first debate of the presidential election, in Atlanta on Thursday, the former president, convicted felon, penalized fraudster and adjudicated rapist will stage a campaign event in Philadelphia.

Democrats say they know what Trump is up to.

“Donald Trump is coming to North Philly, but he can’t fool us,” reads a mobile billboard set to be displayed around the Trump event at Temple University on Saturday evening.

“He’s a disaster for Black Americans.”

Trump thinks he isn’t—and his attempts to eat into Democrats’ historical advantage with Black voters have already taken him to deeply Democratic areas including New York City and Detroit.

At both events, Trump was joined by rappers.

In New York, Sleepy Hallow and Sheff G—both charged last year in a sprawling indictment around alleged gang activities—appeared in support of Trump, shortly before his own conviction on 34 charges arising from hush-money payments made to influence the 2016 election.

In Detroit, Sada Baby, Icewear Vezzo and Peezy appeared in Trump’s support.

New York isn’t a swing state but Michigan is. And so is Philadelphia, which Biden won narrowly in 2020, a result that confirmed his election.

In a statement to The Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday, Trump campaign spokesperson Janiyah Thomas said: “President Trump is making inroads with historically Democrat [sic] voters.”

Such groups, she said, included, “Black Americans and Hispanics, because he is unafraid to bring his message to deep-blue areas as evidenced by this trip to Philadelphia and recent visits to Detroit, Harlem, and the Bronx.”

In response, in a memo sent to The Daily Beast, Kellan White, a senior Biden-Harris 2024 adviser in Pennsylvania, said: “Philadelphians haven’t forgotten how Trump failed us as president—presiding over record-high Black unemployment, soaring health care costs, and hand-outs to his billionaire friends at the expense of working families.”

Philly voters, White added, “have shut down Trump’s racist MAGA charade at every turn. We know he’s a threat to our families, to our jobs, and to our freedoms—and voters have slammed the door on his extreme agenda in every election since 2018. And they’re ready to do it again.”

After his trip to Philadelphia, Trump is due to spend two days on focused debate preparation at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, aiming to shape his message that at 81, Biden is too old to govern effectively.

From Camp David, Biden aides have said the president will prepare for an aggressive performance, prepared to label Trump, 78, as a convicted felon and a threat to democracy itself.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Jim Messina, who managed Barack Obama’s winning campaign in 2012, said: “You can argue this will be the most important debate, at least in my lifetime.”

On Saturday night, though, Trump’s attention will be elsewhere.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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