String of viral moments may signal mood swing in likely Trump-Biden rematch

A string of potentially defining exchanges have gone viral in recent weeks, potentially capturing a major shift in mood as the nation appears headed for a Trump-Biden rematch in November.

Published: April 25, 2024 11:02pm

Past presidential elections have often seen public sentiment shift in response to a major ad campaign, a change of position from a major candidate, unexpected developments abroad, or an economic downturn, but sometimes small moments can prove pivotal.

President George H. W. Bush in 1992, famously checked his watch during a presidential debate against Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. Commenters said that "glancing at the wrist watch in a debate is not considered to be a good move as it often signifies that the person is bored of the discussion."

Former Vice President Al Gore, eight years later, awkwardly approached George W. Bush during a 2000 debate, earning a polite nod of acknowledgement from the Republican and laughs from the audience.

President Gerald Ford, for his part, slipped while climbing down the steps from an airplane in 1975, in a discernably more serious tumble than that of President Joe Biden last year.

In 1988, then-Democratic nominee Mike Dukakis famously made a campaign stop in Germany in which he rode on an Abrams tank and presented a humorous spectacle in light of the contrast between his small stature and the military vehicle. Politico called it "the worst campaign photo-op ever."

Those moments have long been regarded as defining in their respective contests and may have proved haunting moments for some of the participants.

In the era of digital media, however, brief clips have become both more pervasive and accessible, with a string of such moments going viral in recent days, potentially capturing a shift in mood as the nation appears headed for a Trump-Biden rematch in November.

“F--- You”

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday stopped by a construction site on his way to the courthouse for his criminal trial in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case.

The event saw him briefly mingle with construction workers and field a handful of questions from the press before departing. While video footage from the stop showed the crowd cheerily greeting the former president with chants of “USA!” and “We want Trump!” the most viral exchange occurred after he left.

When questioned by NEWSMAX correspondent Addison Smith on his message to Joe Biden, a construction worker offered a curt “f--- you” in reply. The worker did not self-censor his remarks.

He also contended that he was not surprised to see a large volume of Trump supporters present.

“Four more years… pause”

Earlier this week at the North America’s Building Trade Unions (NABTU) Foundations for the Future conference, Biden audibly read aloud the word “pause” after reading along “four more years,” likely reading an instruction from the teleprompter.

The apparent gaffe drew headlines from major outlets such as Fox News, the New York Post, and Newsweek and marked another round of embarrassing press for the president.

“I love you, Trump!”

Not all such exchanges are necessarily negative, however, with a viral clip last week capturing children in Harlem expressing their support for Trump.

The former president has largely remained in the Big Apple in light of his mandatory attendance during the Bragg prosecution, which has constrained his campaign efforts to some degree.

His excursion to a Harlem bodega saw him attract a diverse crowd, which also included children, some of whom were filmed saying “I love you, Trump!”

The Biden-Trump race is effectively tied at present, with Trump earning 44.8% support in the RealClearPolitics polling average, compared to Biden's 44.5%. RCP does not provide an average of the margin of error, although the range from selected polls for the average run from 1% to 4%.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X.

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