DNC and Biden campaign prepare counter-message for Trump's convention

WASHINGTON — Democrats eager to turn the spotlight back on former President Donald Trump are planning a show of force in Milwaukee during the Republican National Convention, with an attack that’s as much about the party’s potential governing agenda as its nominee.

It’s not unusual for the opposition party to seek a foothold in the city hosting the rival convention, but Democrats are eager to go on offense against the GOP after weeks of internal hand-wringing over President Joe Biden’s poor debate performance.

The Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign say they are planning a six-figure paid visibility effort in Milwaukee during the RNC, with daily news conferences featuring Democratic surrogates and advertising around the city blasting Trump and the governing blueprint put forward by conservative allies.

The Biden campaign has seized on Project 2025, a policy document produced by the Heritage Foundation, more intensely in the past week, with advisers insisting that as voters learn more, it will translate into support for Democrats up and down the ballot.

“If Trump thought Milwaukee was ‘horrible’ before, he won’t be happy when he’s met by a counter-convention from Democrats on the ground who will expose his extreme Project 2025 agenda and hold him accountable for shilling for the rich at the expense of working families, attacking reproductive freedom, and threatening to be a dictator on ‘day one,’” DNC communications director Rosemary Boeglin said in a statement. “Trump wants to sell the American people on a return to his reckless, chaotic extremism — but Americans know a fraud and a liar when they see one.”

Trump has distanced himself from Project 2025, saying over the weekend: “I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it.” But he has close ties to some involved in elements of it, including a key author, Ross Vought, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, and former senior adviser John McEntee, who has overseen a personnel database for potential employees in a second Trump administration.

Trump himself will also be a major target of the DNC’s activities, with the party casting the convention as showcasing “the best that they have to offer the American people: a coup-attempting convicted felon.” The party says its counterprogramming will highlight “the grave danger that Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans pose to our democracy, our rights, and our livelihoods.”

The party says it will have pro-Biden and anti-Trump messages on billboards across Milwaukee, as well as mobile billboards and dozens of city buses. Each morning, Biden and DNC officials will host news conferences about specific parts of the Trump agenda, with surrogates who will include Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas and former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

A rapid response team will also be working to spotlight what the Trump and Republican teams are doing at and around the convention.

Even as he faces growing calls from elected Democrats and allies to consider stepping aside, Biden plans to engage in his own counterprogramming schedule next week with a mix of official and campaign events, including commemorating the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in Texas and addressing the NAACP and Unidos conventions in Las Vegas.

Vice President Kamala Harris seized on the Project 2025 agenda during her own stop in Las Vegas on Tuesday, saying that were it to be implemented it would “be the latest attack in Donald Trump’s full-on assault on reproductive freedom.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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