Trump’s crumbling empire gives Biden a golden opportunity  

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

Trump’s crumbling empire gives Biden a golden opportunity  

Here’s a phrase I never thought I’d say: Donald Trump, Bible salesman. 

No, that isn’t an election-induced fever dream. The embattled former president is now trying to pay off his legal judgments by hawking $60 “God Bless the U.S.A.” Bibles  co-branded with country music singer Lee Greenwood. ABC News reports that the Bibles are yet another Trump licensing agreement, meaning a portion of each sale lands right in The Donald’s pocket. 

The Bible scheme is just the latest Trump ploy to separate the MAGA faithful from their cash, and it won’t be the last. Trump is clearly ready to put his candidacy on hold while he scrounges up nearly $500 million to cover his legal debts.  

That should worry Republicans up and down the ballot this year, because new polling shows voters are already taking notice of Trump’s divided attention. 

While Trump was off the campaign trail fighting to stop the New York attorney general from repossessing his fraudulent businesses, President Joe Biden flooded the zone with effective campaign communications. As a result, Biden gained ground in six key swing states, according to the latest Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll.  

Biden erased Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and even managed to retake the lead in Wisconsin after trailing Trump there for over a month. A Susquehanna poll released Monday found Biden faring even better in Pennsylvania, not just tying up the race but leaping ahead of Trump by 5 points. In a presidential race that both sides agree will be decided by narrow vote margins, a candidate disappearing from view for a few weeks can have an outsized effect. 

Biden and Democrats are also ready to capitalize on Trump’s inertia. In an unusually aggressive campaign statement, the Biden campaign ridiculed Trump’s Monday post-court press conference. “Donald Trump is weak and desperate, both as a man and a candidate for president,” the campaign posted on X. He spent the weekend golfing, the morning comparing himself to Jesus, and the afternoon lying about having money he definitely doesn’t have.” 

For once, Trump has found a system he can’t control with media spin.  

His $175 million civil fraud bond isn’t going away no matter how many times he calls it unconstitutional, and Trump doesn’t have $500 million in cash no matter how loudly he insists that he does. Trump has never done well when success is based on facts people can actually measure. Now those things are all the American public is talking about. That’s a nightmare for Trump’s fragile image. 

It isn’t just financial worries that have Trump off the campaign trail — he’s also spending an increasing amount of time in courtrooms. That’s about to get worse, after a New York judge ordered Trump’s hush money trial to begin on April 15. Trump will soon be dividing his time between selling Bibles and explaining to a jury why he paid a porn star to hide their affair. At least irony is thriving this campaign season. 

When Trump isn’t in a courtroom, he’s largely holed up at his Mar-a-Lago retreat with various legal teams. Page Six found Trump at his club alongside loyal consigliere Rudy Giuliani, where multiple daily fundraisers have become the norm. But those fundraisers aren’t to benefit Trump’s presidential operation or the Republican National Committee. No, these fundraisers are largely rerouted to Trump’s legal defense fund.  

Even when Trump decides to throw some political red meat to the MAGA mob, it’s easy to see that his attention is drifting back to those court fees. In a poorly spelled Truth Social post on Tuesday, he ranted that “CROOKED JOE BUDEN DISINFORMATES AND MISINFORMATES ALL THE TIME.” Even by Trumpian standards it was a low-effort shitpost. That’s understandable — according to new reporting from Reuters, Trump is apparently spending most of his time begging billionaires to pay his multimillion-dollar civil fraud bond

The strain of fighting multiple civil (and soon criminal) lawsuits is already visibly wearing Trump down. His increasingly rare rallies are punctuated with mispronounced words and confused names and dates. Trump’s tendency to wander into incoherence is now so noticeable that one medical expert at Cornell University warned Trump displayed possible signs of early dementia. Red-state voters expecting the firebrand from 2016 will be disappointed. 

Trump may be distracted and slower with a right hook than he was in his previous campaigns, but that doesn’t mean Biden’s path will be easy. Trump’s legal woes are distractions of his own making. If Biden wants to capitalize on his opponent’s troubles, he’ll double down on campaigning while Trump is tied up in court. In a race that could be decided by only thousands of votes, Biden will need to fill every moment of Trump’s silence. 

Max Burns is a veteran Democratic strategist and founder of Third Degree Strategies.