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Tony Perkins / May 14, 2021

Crisis Mismanagement: Biden’s Struggles to Respond

The president kept telling reporters that he wasn’t supposed to be answering questions.

Maybe the reason Joe Biden isn’t responding to the world’s crises is because he hasn’t gotten permission to! In some of the most revealing comments about the administration to date, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki raised plenty of eyebrows when she implied that the 78-year-old is on a short leash in public. They are the ones calling the shots — Biden admitted, not him. And if that doesn’t disturb you, Joe Concha argued, it should.

This all spilled over in a press gaggle on Wednesday, when the president kept telling reporters that he wasn’t supposed to be answering questions. “You guys are bad,” he said. “I’m not supposed to be answering all these questions… I’m really going to be in trouble.” In trouble? “Think about that for a moment,” Concha shook his head. “Isn’t it amazing, almost disturbing that the leader of the free world, a man who received more votes than any other candidate in history, is being told when he’s allowed to speak to reporters outside of the desired controlled environment?” And yet, as Psaki openly admitted last week on a podcast with David Axelrod, Team Biden is calling the shots. “A lot of times we say, ‘Don’t take questions,’” she explained.

Of course, it’s not like he — or his handlers — have answers. After four months in office, there’s a catastrophe on every corner — most of them, Republicans insist, of Biden’s own making! The president’s policies are failing across the board, to the point where former President Trump quipped that comparing Biden to Jimmy Carter seems “very unfair to Jimmy Carter.” “Jimmy mishandled crisis after crisis,” his predecessor said, “but Biden has created crisis after crisis.” And now, faced with gas shortages, worker shortages, a full-scale Middle East War, a border emergency, and inflation, Biden’s response to these questions is either: I don’t have answers, or I’m not allowed to give them.

Our enemies see that weakness, Concha warns. They’re taking note that the U.S. president has a team around him “who seems to have no confidence in his ability to speak outside of scripted remarks…” And what about the country’s confidence in his ability to lead with purpose and conviction? After the last several days, there’s no evidence of that either. On “Washington Watch” Wednesday, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) couldn’t believe the dramatic lack of leadership on an issue as important as Israel’s national security. “I am astounded, absolutely astounded that the White House has not weighed in on this,” she said. “It is imperative that we stand with Israel. They are our greatest ally. And President Biden needs to stand up and say something. We know that Hamas is funding a lot of these rockets. We know that a lot of their money is coming out of Iran.” And what is this administration trying to do? Reopen negotiations with the country supplying the terrorists’ rockets. “We’re going to stay on this,” she vowed.

Just like Republicans are going to “stay on” America’s energy crisis. “Having a plan for how we protect our nation’s critical infrastructure is essential,” Blackburn insisted. So far, there’s no plan from the White House — or even a straight answer on what the current situation is or was. In a single breath, officials both confirmed and denied the pipeline problems that created more than 15 states of emergency. “We don’t see a supply issue,” the press secretary fired back at reporters on Monday. By Tuesday, it was a “supply crunch.” And by Wednesday, Psaki was testily trying to explain why she wasn’t honest about the fiasco in the first place.

Meanwhile, Blackburn and her colleagues aren’t trying to dodge the problems — they’re trying to solve them. “I’ve recommended that we bring talent from the civilian sector into a cyber reserve, and also that we use our National Guard, because many of our guardsmen and women have the expertise in cyber areas… And instead of having a rucksack, what they have is the skill set to protect us in the virtual space. There is a lot of 21st century warfare that is going to be carried out in the virtual space. So we have tried to be proactive on this. We have colleagues across the aisle that have not seen this as a necessity in being proactive. We’re continuing to push. I think this week’s actions have certainly brought attention to this.”

And a lot more. As a group of 124 very concerned flag officers put it in an open letter to the country, “We are in a fight for our survival as a constitutional republican like no other time since our founding…” From the border to China to censorship and the rule of law, this administration and its party are putting the nation on a path of destruction.

“This is fundamental to the oath that we took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” FRC’s Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin explained. “And that Constitution is right now being threatened in a way that I’ve never seen before, never expected to see.” This administration, he warns, is “signaling weakness” to the entire world. “Those of us who signed that letter,” he said, “we’re doing just our part, just a small part of trying to get people’s attention that our freedoms, liberty, and historic values are a stake. And we need to act to save America now.”

Originally published here.

A Major’s Step Backwards on Religious Liberty

The Biden administration doesn’t mind if the military has chaplains — it just doesn’t want them to stand for anything. That’s the message from the new commander-in-chief, who seems to be picking up right where his former boss left off. Transgenderism in, religious freedom out.

Like a lot of people who’ve struggled with the whiplash of the new administration, the Army’s Chaplain Andrew Calvert struggled to find a good reason for bringing back the gender identity debate in the ranks. When President Biden dedicated one of his first executive orders to overturning the ban on transgender troops, Calvert had a hard time understanding the rationale. The Pentagon, under Donald Trump, had already ruled out the idea as a distraction, an unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars, and a setback for military readiness.

“How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve,” Calvert wrote on his personal Facebook page a couple of days before the decision came down. “There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary… The motivation is different, but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”

Almost immediately, Calvert was reported to his commander and an investigation ensued. “We are aware of Major Calvert’s social media post,” a spokesman for his branch told reporters. The matter is under review, he insisted, before adding, “We support the commander-in-chief, secretary of Defense, and all DOD policies and directives.” Calvert, who’s served since 2009 and has a Bronze Star, among other awards, didn’t have to wait long for the Army’s decision. II Corps Commander Lt. General Robert White handed down a reprimand that could essentially end his career. “Your actions,” the general wrote, “cast serious doubt on your character and future as a leader in the Army.”

Shell-shocked, Calvert reached out to First Liberty Institute, where Michael Berry and company are desperately trying to appeal. “The Army decided that [his] viewpoint, even expressed by a chaplain in accordance with his sincerely held religious beliefs, was impermissible,” Mike explained on “Washington Watch.” “The hits keep on coming,” he shook his head. “History is now repeating itself. We hoped [it] wouldn’t. We hoped that [even under Biden] religious freedom would still remain strong in our military… I mean, what’s next? Are they going to go after chaplains for what they say from the pulpit during chapel services?”

And of course, the really outrageous piece of this is that under the Trump administration, members of the military were not only openly protesting the president’s decisions — they were applauded for it! “We had uniformed members of our military marching in political rallies and political parades in uniform, expressing openly their opposition to their commander-in-chief’s policies. And that was all considered to be perfectly acceptable — and in fact, something that should be celebrated and applauded by many in the military and in the media. And now you have a chaplain who expresses his support for [what was] at that time was the existing policy of the Department of Defense, and he’s being punished. This just goes to show you’re only really allowed to have one point of view and one perspective.”

Chaplain Calvert’s Facebook account clearly states that this is his personal page and he is only speaking as Andrew Calvert — not a member of the Armed Forces. But that didn’t matter to this Pentagon. They don’t care that he’s a chaplain who’s required by his denomination to hold to these values. “If you express your religious views openly and you happen to be a member of the military, they will come after you,” Mike warned.

And unfortunately, he believes, the purge is only going to continue. “And we know that that’s exactly what the far-Left wants to happen. They want to root out anybody who holds a view contrary to what they believe… And the bottom line is, that’s going to hurt our military. That is going to cause people to turn away from military service. We’re already seeing problems with recruiting and retention. And if that continues, that’s a national security concern.” But then, as Joe Biden learned from his old boss, there’s only one war that needs fighting in this country — and that’s the culture’s.

To show your support for Chaplain Calvert, sign FRC’s petition to his commander, Lt. General Robert White. Add your name to the many others who think Andrew’s record should be restored and religious freedom everywhere respected.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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