LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign members said Thursday that former Vice President Joe Biden would present the toughest 2020 challenge for the president, though they disagreed on whether Biden can first win his party’s nomination.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said at a conference in Las Vegas that he thinks Biden would be the strongest matchup against Trump but is not progressive enough to win the Democratic nomination.
Lewandowski instead predicted Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will win it.
Former Trump campaign adviser David Bossie disagreed. He believes Biden will be the Democratic nominee but said he wishes it would be Sanders, who identifies himself as a democratic socialist.
Bossie said a campaign about socialism versus economic freedom would be great for Republicans.
Bossie and Lewandowski spoke on a panel at an event organized by former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.
Joining the panel were former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele and former Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who suggested that a “dream team for the left” in 2020 would be Sanders as the nominee with California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Steele said Democrats should select Biden as their nominee and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar as his running mate, “if the Democrats want to win and they want to be competitive.”
Biden can appeal to white working class voters who once backed Barack Obama but shifted their support to Trump, Steele said, adding that Biden’s campaign rollout last month was “phenomenally strong,” though his tendency for verbal gaffes could sideline him.
The former RNC chair said Klobuchar would be a smart pick for vice president because the Minnesota senator is good on her feet, capable and appeals to voters in key Midwest states.
Lewandowski and the others predicted 2020 will be a different race than 2016 because nobody is taking Trump for granted.
The president is running with the power of incumbency, has unified the Republican Party behind him and is working with the Republican National Committee, Lewandowski said.
Earlier Thursday at the conference, Scaramucci and former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett took the stage and discussed what advice they’d give Trump.
Jarrett said she’d urge him and any president to be truthful, earn respect and put the good of the country above their own interests.
Scaramucci said the president has a short attention span and needs advice that fits on a bumper sticker. He suggested, “Same policies. Less crazy.”
The former Trump staffer then went on to list half a dozen policies of his former boss that he didn’t favor, including the separation of families at the Mexico border and the president’s criticism of the media.