Here’s how Biden campaign will respond to the Republican debate

WASHINGTON — While the Republican presidential primary field is shrinking, President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign is expanding its war room operation this week to include back-to-back rapid responses to both former President Donald Trump’s town hall with Fox News on Tuesday night and the final GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses on Wednesday. 

The Biden campaign, which largely expects Trump to be his party’s nominee, will treat the two events as having “equal stature,” according to a campaign official, who shared the plan first with NBC News. 

The response to Trump’s appearance in Iowa with host Sean Hannity and the debate in Alabama will have a lot of similarities, the campaign official said. Democrats will seek to illustrate what a Trump presidency would look like if he were to win the White House again, which has been a recent theme for the 2024 re-election effort. 

“Between tonight’s fair and balanced™ Trump town hall and tomorrow night’s ‘debate,’ Donald Trump and MAGA Republican’s extreme agenda for 2025 will be on full display,” Biden campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa said. “Every single Republican is in lockstep support of ripping health care away from millions of Americans, taking away freedoms, and banning abortion.” 

For months, the Biden campaign’s argument has been that whether Trump clinches the nomination or not, the GOP platform will be based upon his “MAGA agenda.”

In Alabama in particular, the official said, Biden campaign surrogates will make the case that if Trump is victorious next year, the state would be a preview in some ways of what the country could look like when it comes to a near-total abortion ban and cuts to Medicaid coverage. 

The Biden campaign plans to put up billboards around Tuscaloosa slamming Republicans on their agenda, as it has during past debates. 

Former Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, and Biden campaign principal deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks will be on the ground to offer their reaction and hold a news conference Wednesday morning. 

Trump, who hasn’t participated in any of the primary debates so far, will instead attend a fundraiser in Florida for his campaign. 

He will, however, have the opportunity to generate his own headlines the next day, when he is “likely” to attend his New York business fraud trial on Thursday for the first time in more than a month, according to a source familiar with the plans. 

The dwindling GOP field, which has seen several candidates drop out in recent weeks, will be the smallest it has been on the debate stage so far. 

Only four candidates will appear, based on criteria from the Republican National Committee: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

Democrats will attempt to tie all of them to Trump’s positions and policies, the campaign official said, while contrasting them with Biden’s time in office. 

“We’re going to highlight the choice Americans have next November between the MAGA Trump toxic, extreme agenda, and President Biden’s proven track record of lowering costs and delivering for middle class families — the stakes of next year’s election could not be higher,” Moussa said.