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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Biden calls Trump a ‘convicted felon’ who is unfit for office

Trump became the first US president to be convicted of a crime last week when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

US President Joe Biden for the first time called former president Donald Trump a “convicted felon” who poses a higher threat to the United States if he wins another term – the most biting attack on his opponent’s legal troubles to date.

Trump became the first US president to be convicted of a crime last week when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

Read more: The conviction of Donald Trump: how it happened

“For the first time in American history, a former president that is a convicted felon is now seeking the office of the presidency,” Biden told a small group of donors on Monday during a fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut.

“But as disturbing as that is, more damaging is the all-out assault Donald Trump is making on the American system of justice,” Biden said, adding it was “reckless and dangerous” to say the justice system is rigged because Trump and his allies don’t like the outcome.

Biden until now had largely stayed away from addressing Trump’s guilty verdict to avoid creating the impression he was politicising the process, according to Biden campaign officials.

Read more: Trump breaks fundraising record after guilty verdict

Biden’s only previous comment on the Trump verdict, at the White House on Friday, was limited to saying no one was above the law – but without calling him a felon.

The president’s comments on Monday offer a glimpse into how he and his campaign could use Trump’s conviction to make the case to voters Trump is unfit for office – an issue that could help define this year’s presidential race by pushing Trump’s felonies to the centre of the election.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman said on Fox News its “shameful” for the Biden campaign to call Trump a convicted felon.

Trump has railed against the verdict and the legal proceedings since he was convicted, and plans to appeal. On Sunday, he said he would accept home confinement or jail time but that it would be tough for the public to accept.

Earlier in the day, Biden’s son Hunter was in court for a criminal case against him over his purchase and possession of a revolver in 2018, a historic criminal prosecution of a sitting president’s son with the potential to influence the 2024 presidential election.