Why Trump Desperately Wants to Face Biden in November

While Democratic donors and lawmakers peel away from President Joe Biden, at least one person desperately wants the incumbent to stay in the race: Donald Trump.

“We need to make sure Biden stays on the ballot and there’s no bait and switch,” a 2020 Trump staffer told Vanity Fair.

Trump was, himself, taken aback by Biden’s frailty during last week’s debate. One source that was briefed on Trump’s conversations after the event told the publication that the former president was “sad for America” and then “upset” by Biden’s mindless performance.

After spending months attempting to chop Biden down for his fragile health, a new, younger candidate opposing him at the top of the ticket would be the worst-case scenario for Trump. And some close to the presumptive GOP presidential nominee now believe that Trump walked straight into a trap by agreeing to partake in the earliest presidential debate in televised history, offering ample time for Democrats to find another option in case voters turned on Biden.

Several centrist governors are circulating in the conservative ecosphere as alternatives to Biden, including Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Vice President Kamala Harris is also being viewed as a credible option, with the 2020 staffer telling Vanity Fair that the Democratic Party wouldn’t be able to “sidestep her.”

But other Trump aides weren’t so sure that the Democratic effort to replace Biden on the ticket would prevail.

“They’re stuck with Biden,” a senior Trump campaign staffer told Vanity Fair.