President Trump on Thursday once again shifted the focus away from his planned remarks on White House deregulation efforts to go after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for his recent policy proposals that the president argues would “totally destroy the beautiful suburbs.”
While making remarks ostensibly about rolling back federal regulations on infrastructure projects, Trump veered off topic to malign the proposals put forth by a task force set up by Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“The American dream would be quickly snuffed out and replaced by a socialist nightmare,” Trump said of Biden and Sanders’ so-called “unity platform.” “The end result will be to totally destroy the beautiful suburbs.”
Biden and Sanders released last week the wide-ranging set of recommendations that, while laying out a progressive road map for the former vice president, does falls short of the ambitious plans pushed by Sanders and other candidates during the Democratic primaries.
The health care task force spotlights ways to expand coverage by strengthening the Affordable Care Act, which was Biden’s position during the primaries, rather than pushing for a single-payer “Medicare-for-all” health care system, a signature policy goal for Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts that was notably absent from the document.
But the climate change task force — co-chaired by progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and former Secretary of State John Kerry — calls for a faster timetable to achieve net-zero carbon emissions than Biden has previously advocated for, instead of the Ocasio-Cortez-championed Green New Deal to overhaul environmental policy, which also was not included in the recommendations.
On criminal justice reform — which has been in the spotlight the past two months in the wake of national racial unrest following the death of George Floyd — the proposals included a series of police reforms such as banning chokeholds, ending racial profiling and letting abuse victims pursue civil litigation.
Trump has criticized much of suggestions made by Biden and Sanders in their platform, but in recent weeks he has taken to blasting his Democratic rival for an Obama-era housing rule meant to address racial segregation. The president has claimed that the rule would eliminate single family homes in suburban America and “abolish the suburbs.”
“Suburbia will be no longer as we know it,” Trump said. “They’re going watch it go to hell. Not while I am here.”
The president’s focus on suburban America comes as he sees his support in those areas dwindling.
In 2016, Trump won suburban areas overall by four percentage points. But recent polling indicates that many of those in the suburbs who voted for him in 2016 – particularly white women – have soured on his message. If the polling is correct, this would be a carryover from the 2018 midterms when suburban voters helped Democrats regain control of the House.
Trump’s attacks on Biden also come as his campaign looks to reboot following a drop in his poll numbers – the president is now down 8.6 points to Biden, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls – and a major staff shake-up on Wednesday.
Trump’s campaign announced Wednesday night that it was replacing campaign manager Brad Parscale with veteran GOP operative Bill Stepien. The move announced Wednesday night came days after an article in The Washington Post portrayed Parscale as self-promoting and aloof, noting that he was featured prominently in an early Trump campaign ad — and that staffers complained he often took calls by his swimming pool at home.
“I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of Trump Campaign Manager,” Trump wrote on Facebook. “Brad Parscale, who has been with me for a very long time and has led our tremendous digital and data strategies, will remain in that role, while being a Senior Advisor to the campaign.”
Trump added: “Both were heavily involved in our historic 2016 win, and I look forward to having a big and very important second win together.
Two top campaign officials clarified to Fox News that “there are not two campaign managers,” and that Stepien will have total executive control.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and Gregg Re contributed to this report.