- Anita Dunn, a top Biden advisor, said the pandemic was the “best thing that ever happened to him.”
- The private remark was reported on in the first book about the 2020 election, released this week.
- The book, written by two political reporters, argues that Biden got lucky on the campaign trail.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
A top advisor to President Joe Biden privately said the coronavirus pandemic was “the best thing to have ever happened to him” on the campaign trail because it covered up his failures, according to a new book released Tuesday.
The advisor in question is former Obama White House communications chief Anita Dunn, one of the best known Democratic operatives in Washington and is now acting as a senior advisor to Biden.
According to the book, titled “Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency,” Dunn made the remarks to “an associate,” saying privately what aides “would never say in public,” the Guardian reported.
The book, which was published this week, was written by the senior political analyst for NBC News, Jonathan Allen, and senior correspondent for The Hill, Amie Parnes.
It is the first major analysis of the 2020 election, a campaign largely marked by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has so far taken the lives of more than 520,000 Americans, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University.
In their book, Allen and Parnes adopt a critical observation of how Biden won the presidency over Former President Donald Trump, writing that the former was the “process-of-elimination candidate,” who emerged from a group of much more exciting Democratic contenders, the Independent reported.
They also argue that Biden, who had two unsuccessful president runs behind him, prevailed this time around despite having “a bland message and a blank agenda,” according to the Independent.
“Everything else, he’d [Biden] gotten wrong. He’d run a lousy campaign, flubbed debates, spent so much money on Iowa and New Hampshire that he teetered on the edge of insolvency, lost three straight states to start the primary, and allowed himself to be defined by his frailties,” the authors write, according to the Independent.
The book also notes that before the pandemic, Trump had been largely leading in the polls.
“Until the COVID thing came, we were winning four hundred electoral votes,” a source familiar with Trump’s internal numbers told the authors, according to ABC News.
From the beginning of April, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Trump’s approval rating had started to drop after his early COVID-19 briefings, which he largely used to propagate lies and disinformation.
Allen and Parnes also look deeper into the relationship between Biden and Barack Obama, who endorsed his former vice-president late — in April 2020 — because he feared his November run-up could become a “tragicomic caricature of an ageing politician having his last hurrah,” the Independent reported.
According to the authors, at a dinner with Black business leaders in October 2019, he praised Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy and listed several reasons why he believed Buttigieg couldn’t win. He never mentioned Biden.
“It’s sort of a metaphor for where Obama’s head was from the beginning of the campaign,” Allen said on ABC’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast Wednesday.
Obama also didn’t call Biden until four days after the election, when Biden had been projected winner by major news outlets, the authors reveal.
“I think the former president was sitting on the sidelines and sort of watching and going ‘oh God, I hope this is not deja vu from 2016’ and so I think that he was watching and kind of letting the process play out,” Parnes told ABC.
Allen and Parnes have previously collaborated on another book called “Shattered,” which focused on Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 White House run. In their latest book, the authors describe how Biden thought Clinton was a “terrible candidate,” the Guardian reported.
“Lucky” is the first book about the November election that’s been published so far. Several competing works are scheduled to be published later on this year and into 2022.
According to a Washington Post book review, the book provides useful detail to understand Biden’s victory, “even if the framing is not particularly novel.”
“What candidate has not experienced some luck or misfortune during a long presidential bid? One time it might be a major health crisis, another time, a self-righteous FBI director,” Carlos Lozada, who reviewed the book for the Post, wrote.