Court ruling gives Biden welcome respite from questions over his health

US

Joe Biden didn’t want the Supreme Court decision, that’s clear. Joe Biden’s campaign can feel the benefit, that’s also clear.

In a week when Team Biden needs the American public talking about something that isn’t his frailty, the fragility of the rule of law will probably do.

It did for him in a Monday evening address from the White House.

In a week when Mr Biden is the story in US politics, notice of a presidential statement carried a fraught anticipation – as unmissable as his debate performance was unwatchable.

In the event, he was fine – as far as it went.

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1:25

‘Trump will now be free to ignore the law’

His performance was compressed into a statement short and sweet, on home turf and with a teleprompter.

It was a tidy performance although, having delivered his pre-prepared remarks, he turned on his heel and ignored questions from journalists – not a great look for a man who still has answers to give.

More on Donald Trump

This was Atlanta +4, four days in which Democrats have clamoured for their president and candidate to front up in the media and confound the crisis spooking the party.

The Supreme Court gave him the material to play with.

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0:58

Biden v Trump debate: What you need to know

The ruling will read as ‘banana republic’ to Democrats and it will register beyond the core vote.

Crucially for Biden, it helps to reorientate the discussion away from the messenger onto the message.

A Supreme Court bench with a conservative majority, delivering real-life consequences of its political imbalance, allows Biden to assert what’s at stake.

When he warns of a Trump victory delivering two more judges of his choice, as he does, the president can point to real-time consequences to reinforce the point.

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Principally, though, the point is Biden himself – his health, durability and suitability for office.

The first lady, Jill Biden, featured on the front page of Vogue and told the magazine they would “continue to fight”.

For how much longer, though, she can’t guarantee. That’s her difficulty, and his.

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