Republican strategists believe the discovery of classified documents in President Joe Biden’s and former Vice President Mike Pence’s possession will help former President Donald Trump’s campaign ahead of the 2024 presidential election, according to a Wednesday report from Axios.
GOP strategists Ford O’Connell and Ken Spain said the recent discoveries pull Trump’s own documents scandal further off the table, effectively weakening the attack line against the former president, Axios reported.
“This neutralizes the issue, both within the Republican primary and in the event Trump emerges as the nominee for the 2024 general election,” Spain, a Republican consultant and former National Republican Congressional Committee communications director, told the outlet.
Biden’s lawyers found classified documents in the Penn Biden Center in November and at his Delaware home Dec. 20, Jan. 11 and Jan. 12. The FBI conducted a search of his home and found more documents Jan. 20. Some documents dated back to his time as a senator while others were from his time as vice president, according to Biden’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer. The Biden administration has been vocal about its cooperation with searches by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Pence’s team found classified documents at his Indiana residence in January and subsequently informed Congress of the discovery. Pence had “engaged outside counsel” to examine the documents in his home following reports of Biden’s classified materials, according to a letter reviewed by the Daily Caller
The discovery of documents in Biden’s possession could create a fresh line of attack for the Trump campaign against the president, the strategists said, citing what some Republicans see as a double standard in how the DOJ has addressed the cases.
“The idea that Mar-a-Lago’s raided [sic] … [compared to] the way that Joe Biden is being treated, to them that is very frustrating,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said, according to Axios.
Trump said Biden was getting the “white glove treatment” following the discovery of classified documents in the president’s possession. The FBI raided Trump’s Florida estate in August, alleging classified documents had been taken out of the White House. Trump insisted the documents had been declassified. Attorney General Merrick Garland later appointed a special counsel to investigate the matter.
It’s a little bit amazing they find more and more classified documents stored by President Biden.
He was thrilled to call out President Trump – but every day we see how truly irresponsible Biden is. pic.twitter.com/RdmA6YgVCe
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 24, 2023
The strategists believe the three cases, despite their differences, may be framed in public opinion as an issue of government officials mishandling classified documents, Axios reported.
Despite significant media coverage, the documents scandal has seemingly not affected Biden’s approval rating in terms of job performance. The president’s approval stands at 43% among voters, one point higher than in late December, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted from Jan. 20-22. The poll surveyed 1,990 registered voters with an unweighted margin of error of +/- 2%.
The poll also revealed that more voters are hearing negative news about Biden. Thirty-nine percent of Independent voters had heard negative news about the president as of Jan. 8. That number increased to 51% by Jan. 22, according to the poll.