US voters might feel a sense of déjà vu as their president, Joe Biden, calls into a morning TV show to criticize so-called elites. This time, it's Biden, not Donald Trump, on the other end of the line. As the 81-year-old Democrat struggles to secure his re-election after a disastrous debate against the 78-year-old Republican, Biden is increasingly adopting Trump's aggressive tactics. While Trump has remained silent since the June 27 debate, Biden has launched a media and campaign blitz to address concerns about his age.

In a move reminiscent of Trump's presidential days when he would frequently call into conservative shows like Fox and Friends, Biden dialed into the liberal-leaning MSNBC network's Morning Joe program on Monday. "I'm getting so frustrated by the elites — I'm not talking about you guys — the elites in the party, 'oh, they know so much more,'" Biden said mockingly to Democrats who have urged him to step down. "Any of these guys that don't think I should run — run against me. Announce for president, challenge me at the convention."

Populist politicians like Trump have often positioned themselves as champions of the people against "elites," despite being part of the elite themselves. Reactions to Biden's call-in were mixed. Legendary Hollywood director Rob Reiner, known for the comedy classic When Harry Met Sally, suggested that if Biden continued similar performances until the election, "he'll be able to shut up people like me who think he should step aside." Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, praised Biden's "energy" on Morning Joe but criticized his "message," describing it as "angry, defensive, lashing out at all the wrong people."

Biden has also adopted other tactics from his predecessor since the debate. He has boasted about large crowds at his rallies, claiming, "We've been drawing big crowds. Ever since the debate, not joking, even that night we had big crowds afterwards," during a campaign rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has also bragged extensively about his achievements at rallies, in letters to congressmen, and to reporters. Additionally, he has selectively cited polls, either to falsely claim underdog status in his 2020 contest with Trump or to deny his current record-low approval ratings.

In many ways, the signs of Biden's increasingly aggressive tone against Trump have been evident for months. Since the beginning of the year, Biden has called Trump a "loser" and a threat to democracy, and during the debate, he accused him of having "sex with a porn star." Meanwhile, Trump's debate performance was notably restrained, avoiding the frequent interruptions seen four years ago. Right-wing commentators have even speculated that Biden is mimicking another Trump trademark — his spray-tan. Biden appeared pale during the debate, but recent appearances, including an ABC interview, have sparked internet memes suggesting his skin looked orange.