COVID-19 was the best thing that could have happened to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to one of his closest advisers.
A new book revealed that Anita Dunn made the comment in private to “an associate,” according to the Guardian, which obtained a copy, at a time when the United States was struggling with rising death tolls, a shattered economy, and a health system close to breaking.
The details are contained in Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. It is the first major book on the 2020 election and is due to be published on March 2.
It describes how Dunn said, “COVID is the best thing that ever happened to him,” in comments the authors suggested “campaign officials believed but would never say in public.”
That private thinking reflects what many political analysts said at the time, that the rampant pandemic undermined then-President Donald Trump’s solid economic achievements and standing in national and battleground state opinion polls.
But the comments could be seized on by Biden’s critics that his campaign used the suffering of the public in the opportunistic pursuit of power.
Dunn worked as interim communications director at the White House under President Barack Obama in 2009 before returning to the private sector. In 2020, she again took on the role of communications director for the Biden campaign before being appointed co-chairwoman of the Biden-Harris transition team.
Last month, she joined the White House as a senior adviser.
A post-mortem examination by Trump’s chief pollster concluded that the former president’s handling of the coronavirus crisis was a critical factor in his defeat. It found that the handling of the pandemic was the top issue for voters and that in states that “flipped,” Biden carried those voters by a margin of nearly 3-1.