Biden campaign launches fundraising drive minutes after guilty Trump verdict

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris immediately asked supporters for money following the Trump verdict
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's campaign immediately sought donations following the Trump verdict - AP

Joe Biden’s re-election campaign has already begun fundraising on the back of Donald Trump’s guilty verdict on Thursday night.

The US president’s official White House spokesman, Ian Sams, released a brief statement shortly after the jury in Manhattan’s verdict was released.

“We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment,” he said.

White House aides suggested the US president would not be directly addressing his Republican opponent’s conviction.

However, Mr Biden’s campaign began fundraising over the shock verdict within hours of it being handed down.

In a gleeful statement, Michael Tyler, the campaign’s communications director, said: “Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain.

“But today’s verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality.

“There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box.”

Mr Biden’s senior aides have been carefully debating whether the president should refer to his opponent as a convicted felon, fearful that any political opportunism could backfire on them.

On Thursday night, senior Biden sources suggested he may let other Democrats attack Mr Trump over the case while he focuses on bread and butter issues.

Senior Democratic officials were quick to crow over the news.

Adam Schiff, a California congressman who led the first impeachment of Mr Trump, said: “First, a court found Donald Trump to be a sexual abuser.

“He was then found to be a fraudulent business owner. Now Donald J. Trump is a convicted felon. “All are an affirmation of the rule of law. And Trump’s unfitness for office.”

Mr Biden has relied on campaign surrogates including 80-year-old Robert De Niro.

The Hollywood star held a surprise press conference on behalf of the Biden campaign outside the Manhattan courthouse this week.

He appeared to go off script when he proclaimed Trump was guilty and should go to jail before the jury began deliberating.

“The fact is whether he’s acquitted, whether it’s hung jury, whatever it is, he is guilty, and we all know it,” De Niro said.