4 weeks ago

Biden campaign attempts to flip the age script with a flurry of unflattering Trump videos

As some misleading videos of President Joe Biden have exploded online in recent weeks, his re-election campaign has intensified its pushback against them while attempting to flip the script by repeatedly highlighting unflattering clips of former President Donald Trump on social media.

A prolific Biden campaign account on X, called @BidenHQ, has shared at least 20 such videos since June 1, with a noticeable uptick this week that culminated in a more than two-minute montage on Thursday of Trump “getting confused, lost, wandering off, and waving to nobody.”

In an interview with NBC News at the Biden campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, deputy campaign manager Rob Flaherty said his team was intentionally investing in resources to be more forceful in its response to videos that attempt to raise questions about Biden’s age, 81, and ability to serve a second term.

Conservative accounts, most notably including the Republican National Committee’s “research” arm, have widely shared disingenuous clips that show Biden appearing to struggle to find a chair at a D-Day event in France and seeming to wander off after a skydiving demonstration with other world leaders in Italy.

At the France event, GOP-aligned accounts claimed Biden was trying to sit in a chair that didn’t exist. But the complete footage of the ceremony shows the president looking over his shoulder for his chair and pausing before taking a seat. (The chair was, in fact, there.)

At the Italy event, one tight camera angle appeared to show Biden wandering off before being pulled back to the group by the Italian prime minister. But a second camera angle reveals the president was, in reality, walking over to greet skydivers who’d just finished the presentation.

The Biden campaign calls these “deceptively edited videos” that have become a “huge part” of the Trump team’s strategy.

“We have to be more aggressive about monitoring, about intervening, about taking action against it, because it is just going to be such a centerpiece of how he’s communicating,” Flaherty said. “This cycle we’re also pushing back by flipping Donald Trump and his own words — his more dangerous divisive rhetoric — because that is such a feature of his campaign. These deceptive videos are out here because Donald Trump is desperate to distract from his unpopular agenda.”

Last week, the @BidenHQ account posted a clip of Trump, who recently turned 78, mispronouncing a word, saying he was “slurring and stumbling.” Other posts labeled him as “confused.”

In addition to trying to raise doubts about Trump’s mental abilities, the Biden campaign has gone after the former president’s physicality. On June 13, the Biden campaign account posted a video of Trump walking down stairs with the caption: “Four years ago today, a feeble and pathetic Trump had to be guided by a handler as he could barely walk down a ramp.”

At the time, Trump claimed the ramp was “very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery” in a post on social media.

Karoline Leavitt, national press secretary for the Trump campaign, maintained in a statement that their team was sharing “real videos” of Biden while the president’s campaign was posting “out-of-context clips” of Trump.

“Biden’s team is on defense because they know the majority of Americans believe what they see with their own eyes — and that’s a rapidly declining, incoherent, incompetent and weak Joe Biden,” Leavitt said.

Biden’s White House has also become more outspoken about the viral videos. Spokesman Andrew Bates has called the barrage from right-wing accounts a “desperate smear,” posting or reposting about what Biden aides have decried as “cheap fakes” more than 50 times this week alone on X.

“They are cheap fakes video. They are done in bad faith,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a press briefing Monday, adding, “I think that it tells you everything that we need to know about … how desperate Republicans are here.”

Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon described the push to post more Trump content during an episode of the “Impolitic With John Heilemann” podcast that was released Friday. (Heilemann is also a national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.)

“You don’t have to make up an ad or a story or some fake f---ing photo to see exactly what’s in front of the American people with what Donald Trump’s saying, and we really see as part of our campaign that we have to do that too,” she said.

The Biden campaign also concedes that the social media landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, which presents new challenges.

“The speed at which information moves to voters, the way that voters are sort of getting information from sort of personalized media environments changes how we have to engage with them, which means we need to be in more places,” Flaherty said. “We need to be communicating with more people.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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