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The Biden reelection campaign has enlisted three police officers who were present at the US Capitol during the January 6, 2021 riot to campaign for Biden across key battleground states. Officers Aquilino Gonell, Harry Dunn, and Danny Hodges will speak out about the threat they believe former President Donald Trump poses to democracy and American rights. Dunn and Gonell were injured during the Capitol attack and have retired from the Capitol Police, while Hodges still serves with DC’s Metropolitan Police Department.

The officers plan to travel to Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Hampshire in the coming weeks to deliver their message about the events of January 6 and the importance of safeguarding democracy. The campaign aims to emphasize this narrative leading up to the first debate between Biden and Trump scheduled for June 27. An email from Gonell to Biden supporters highlighted his injuries and resolve to ensure Trump is not elected president again, framing him as someone who praised the insurrectionists involved in the Capitol attack.

The Biden team’s strategy includes using the events of January 6 to challenge Trump’s mental stability and provoke a response from him. The campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, emphasized Trump’s reaction to losing the 2020 election and his role in inciting the Capitol riot in a memo released alongside a new ad with a similar message. This approach aims to draw attention to Trump’s behavior after the election and his handling of the violent assault on the Capitol.

In addition to domestic messaging centered around democracy and Trump’s actions, the Biden campaign plans to engage with international allies on similar themes. This will include democracy-focused summits with countries such as France, participation in the Group of Seven developed democracies’ annual gathering, and a NATO summit focused on supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression. The campaign’s efforts to highlight the importance of democracy at home will be complemented by engagements with allies abroad to promote democratic values on a global scale.

The involvement of the Capitol Police officers in the Biden campaign emphasizes the personal impact of the January 6 attack and their commitment to defending democracy. Dunn expressed his willingness to share his story to help save democracy, reflecting a broader narrative of the stakes involved in the upcoming election. By highlighting their experiences and the threat they see in Trump’s actions, the officers aim to mobilize voters and bring attention to the events of January 6.

Overall, the Biden campaign’s use of the Capitol Police officers as surrogates reflects a strategy to connect the events of January 6 with a broader argument about democracy and Trump’s conduct. By incorporating personal stories and emphasizing the need to protect democracy, the campaign seeks to engage voters in key battleground states and challenge Trump’s candidacy. This messaging strategy aligns with the campaign’s goal of framing the election as a crucial moment for democracy and the future of the United States.

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