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The U.S. presidential election is still seven months away but an MSNBC host is already suggesting that Democrat Joe Biden set up a “shadow government” against the Trump administration amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Stephanie Ruhle pitched the idea Wednesday during an interview with Jim Messina, who served as deputy chief of staff of operations under former President Barack Obama.
Messina was reacting to news that Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren had each endorsed Biden for the presidency in November’s general election.
Messina argued that both Obama and Warren would be valuable surrogates for Biden in the months ahead as the former vice president makes his case for winning the nation’s top job – and took some swipes at President Trump along the way.
“When you see President Trump with his erratic leadership, his daily clown-show press conferences … to have real upstanding leaders like Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren talk about Joe Biden in personal terms – the kind of leader he would be – that contrast is really important right now,” Messina said, “and it’s a contrast that the Biden campaign is going to bank on going forward.”
Ruhle then asked whether Biden should be offering his own version of a daily coronavirus briefing, to compete with the White House sessions that Trump has been leading to keep the public informed about the U.S. response to the outbreak.
“Then do they need to do it in a bigger way?” she asked about the Biden campaign. “What did you just call it, the president’s daily clown show — that’s his press briefing?
“Should Joe Biden be counter-programming that?” Ruhle asked. “Should he be creating his own shadow government, shadow Cabinet, shadow SWAT team — and getting up there at a podium every night, saying, ‘Here’s the crisis we’re in, here’s what we need to do to address this’?”
Stephanie Ruhle on June 4, 2019. (Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Messina responded: “Well, he’s done some of that, right? He’s released the most comprehensive plans of what to do during this COVID crisis.”
Biden faced a lot of criticism early in the crisis that he appeared to be standing on the sidelines as other Democrats – particularly New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo but also California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer – drew media attention for their news briefings and policy announcements in response to the virus.
Last Sunday, Biden laid out his coronavirus response plan in an op-ed in The New York Times.