While Trump is Stuck in Court, Biden Hits the Campaign Trail Hard to Win Over Swing State Voters

By: Alex Trent | Published: Apr 16, 2024

On Tuesday, Donald Trump is confined to a New York courtroom as a criminal trial over alleged hush money payments continues into its second day.

At the same time, Joe Biden is on his own multi-day event in Pennsylvania, attempting to persuade voters in what may be the biggest battleground state for him in 2024.

Trump in Court

Former President Donald Trump is currently in New York awaiting jury selection in a criminal trial where he is charged with 34 felony counts.

Donald Trump can be seen just having gotten out of a black car. He is wearing a blue suit, red tie and white shirt. He is doing a thumbs up sign whilst surrounded by security guards

Source: Wikimedia Commons

On his way into the courtroom, Trump winked at a court security officer and took a seat at his spot at the defense table at around 9:30 am Eastern time.


Historic Trial

Many are calling this particular Trump trial a historic one because it is the first criminal trial in U.S. history for a former president. The trial proceedings started Monday and currently, the court has to narrow down a pool of 96 jurors down to just 12.

A judge's gavel rests on its sounding block on a wooden surface, with a person in the background


Trump is accused of directing “hush money” payments through his attorney to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election as well as falsifying business records to hide these payments.

Not Guilty

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all the charges he has been accused of. He has also made comments going a step further, saying the prosecution and the Democrats are bringing these charges to stop him from retaking the White House.

Donald Trump speaking in front of a podium.

Source: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons

There have been three other criminal prosecutions against Trump, but this is the first to make it to the trial stage.

Trump’s Comments

Before entering the courtroom early Tuesday, Trump delivered comments to a flock of reporters waiting for his arrival.

Donald Trump walks off stage while giving a peace sign with his left hand.

Mark Taylor/Wikimedia Commons

“This is really an attack on a political opponent. That’s all it is,” Trump said. “So I’m very honored to be here.” Trump sees the influx of civil and now criminal trials against him in an election year as political persecution intending to distract him from his goal of being re-elected as president.

Trump Making the Best of the Situation

Without much other choice, Trump has been trying to take advantage of the increased interest around his trial to help his campaign. Being stuck in a courtroom means that Trump cannot be making appearances at rallies like he normally would.

Donald Trump shouting and pointing at the viewer while at a podium.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

The courtroom is closed to TV cameras but Trump has been lashing out on social media. He is leveraging the trial to frame himself as under attack by the establishment, calling the hush money trial “election interference.”


Biden Hitting The Campaign Trail

In contrast to Trump’s ongoing multi-day criminal trial, Biden has booked a multi-day campaign event in the state of Pennsylvania. 

President Joe Biden, wearing sunglasses and a blue suit, smiles as he speaks at a lectern outdoors with a wooden backdrop

Source: POTUS/X

Starting in Scranton Pennsylvania, he will continue on a three-day trip through the state, blasting Trump’s tax cuts for the rich and demanding that wealthy Americans “pay their fair share.”


Tax Day

Biden will deliver speeches taking advantage of the timing around April 15, the deadline for Americans to file their federal Tax Returns.

A calculator lying on top of a pile of money next to a white notepad

Source: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

As a slight to Trump, Biden released his federal tax returns on Monday, a move that Trump has refused to do while he was in the White House.


Transparency at the White House

The Biden administration announced the release of both President Biden’s and Vice President Harris’ tax returns release, calling it a “new record for transparency.”

The White House appears from a long distance showing the field of green grass in front of the building and lush trees on either side

Source: J Amil Santiago

“President Biden believes that all occupants of the Oval Office should be open and honest with the American people and that the longstanding tradition of annually releasing presidential tax returns should continue unbroken,” the statement said.


Pennsylvania Voters

The Biden campaig, flush with cash and mobilizing ground operations to reach voters, has chosen Pennsylvania as the place to focus on. Joe Biden grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which was his first campaign stop.

A road sign welcoming a traveler to Pennsylvania.

Source: Pennsylvania/Wikimedia

Trump has been consistently leading Biden in several recent polls. However, the latest poll from Franklin & Marshall College Center for Opinion Research puts Biden two points ahead.


Drawing Contrast

The Biden campaign hopes to capitalize on the national attention of Trump’s criminal trial to draw a contrast between the two candidates.

Trump points while Biden looks down at the document he is signing.

Source: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia, The White House/Wikimedia

“We’ve got Joe Biden, a candidate sees the world from the kitchen table where he grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Donald Trump who sees the world from his country club down at Mar-a-Lago,” said Michael Tyler, the Biden campaign’s communications director.


Cuts Versus Hikes

Biden is positioning himself as a champion of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, having previously signed a law in 2022 that imposed a 25% minimum tax on Americans making more than $100 million.

A person holding a sign that says “tax the rich” at a demonstration.”

Yuri Keegstra/Wikimedia Commons

By contrast, Trump frames himself as a champion of cutting taxes, which he says will benefit all Americans. “When President Trump is back in the White House, he will advocate for more tax cuts for all Americans and reinvigorate America’s energy industry to bring down inflation, lower the cost of living, and pay down our debt,” said Trump’s campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt.