For first time, Biden tells voters that Trump is a ‘convicted felon’

President Joe Biden has called Donald Trump a “convicted felon” for the first time, marking an escalation in his rhetoric as he seeks to further underscore the stark contrast between him and his November opponent.

“For the first time in American history, a former president that is a convicted felon is now seeking the office of the presidency,” Biden said at a fundraising event in Connecticut on Monday. “But as disturbing as that is, more damaging is the all-out assault Donald Trump is making on the American system of justice.”

Biden, who also denounced the former president’s characterization of the trial as “rigged,” had initially been cautious to avoid overt references to Trump’s criminal cases, lest he risk accusations of political meddling. He previously had only hinted at the charges against his opponent in four criminal cases.

But despite Biden’s reticence, Trump and his allies have relentlessly portrayed the charges as part of a Democratic plot to destroy the presumptive GOP nominee for president. Now, with a jury conviction in Trump’s hush money trial in New York, and as conservatives step up their baseless claims about the U.S. justice system being weaponized against the former president, Biden’s calculations appear to have changed.

NBC News reported before the verdict that the Biden campaign had been preparing to launch more aggressive attacks on Trump after the hush money trial wrapped, with the president’s re-election campaign intent on reminding voters that, despite the conviction, the only way to defeat the former president will be at the ballot box. Trump, meanwhile, has argued that the “real verdict” will come down on Nov. 5.