Biden baited Trump into 'a monstrously self-involved meltdown' — and now the GOP has to deal with it: conservative
Joe Biden, Donald Trump (Photo by Brendan Smialakowski for AFP)

In a column for the Atlantic, conservative David Frum argued that Joe Biden's decision to go to Philadelphia before a Donald Trump rally -- where the current president issued a full-throated attack on Trump's violent MAGA supporters -- was a brilliant tactical move that puts Republicans on the defensive before the midterm election.

According to Frum, the former president responded predictably as Trump turned a rally ostensibly aimed at boosting the election prospects of struggling Dr. Mehmet Oz for the U.S. Senate and Doug Mastriano as Pennsylvania's next governor into a two-hour grievance-fest about himself.

Along the way, Trump once again harped on losing the 2020 presidential election -- an issue the GOP leadership would prefer not be the central topic of conversation as Republican candidates attempt to make the midterms about Joe Biden and his policies.

As Frum wrote, "For the 2022 election cycle, smart Republicans had a clear and simple plan: Don’t let the election be about Trump. Make it about gas prices, or crime, or the border, or race, or sex education, or anything—anything but Trump," before adding, "Maybe the pleas were always doomed to fail. Show Trump a spotlight, and he’s going to step into it. But Republicans pinned their hopes on the chance that Trump might muster some self-discipline this one time, some regard for the interests and wishes of his partners and allies."

According to Frum, Biden's speech "goaded" Trump into doing exactly what the GOP leadership feared he might do.

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Of Trump's Wilkes-Barre speech on Saturday, Frum wrote, "...this one was different: so extreme, strident, and ugly—and so obviously provoked by Biden’s speech that this was what led local news: 'Donald Trump Blasts Philadelphia, President Biden During Rally for Doug Mastriano, Dr. Oz in Wilkes-Barre,'" which led the columnist to add, "Yes, you read that right: Campaigning in Pennsylvania, the ex-president denounced the state’s largest city."

"The rally format allowed time for only brief remarks by the two candidates actually on the ballot, Oz and Mastriano. Its message was otherwise all Trump, Trump, Trump. A Republican vote is a Trump vote. A Republican vote is a vote to endorse lies about the 2020 presidential election," Frum suggested. "On and on it went, in a protracted display of narcissistic injury that was exactly the behavior that Biden’s Philadelphia speech had been designed to elicit."

According to the conservative, Trump's thin skin when it comes to anything critical of him once again set Republicans back with little time before the midtems and GOP hopes of taking both chambers on Congress rapidly dwindling away.

According to Frum, "Biden came to Philadelphia to deliver a wound to Trump’s boundless yet fragile ego. Trump obliged with a monstrously self-involved meltdown 48 hours later," before adding, "And now his party has nowhere to hide. Trump has overwritten his name on every Republican line of every ballot in 2022."

"Biden dangled the bait. Trump took it—and put his whole party on the hook with him. Republican leaders are left with little choice but to pretend to like it," he concluded.

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