January 21, 2022

King of the Bungle

Biden’s blunders on everything from Ukraine to COVID reminded everyone what a mistake his presidency has been.

The kinder reviews said it “didn’t go quite as planned.” But for anyone else tuning in to the longest presidential news conference in history, it was a disaster of epic proportions. The White House had been shielding Joe Biden from the press for months. And now we all understand why.

It was, as even Politico pointed out, his staff’s worst “nightmare come true.” For what might be the first time as president, Joe Biden was completely unfiltered. Suddenly off the short leash of his handlers, he talked for an hour and fifty-one minutes Wednesday, setting a record that outpaced even Donald Trump by a whole half an hour. But longer wasn’t better for the flailing White House, as Biden’s blunders on everything from Ukraine to COVID reminded everyone what a mistake his presidency has been.

On debacles like Afghanistan, he dug in. “I make no apologies,” the president insisted on what many rank as the biggest mess of his term. The damning polls, Biden dismissed. “I don’t believe [them],” he shrugged. On everything in between, he dropped jaws. “I’m not sure his staff is exactly excited about all the news he made,” CNN commentators agreed, before Dana Bash joked, “Clean up on aisle State Department!”

Internationally, the conversation was devastating, as Biden all but cheered a Ukraine invasion. To the distress of Western leaders and both sides of the U.S. Senate (who sent a bipartisan delegation to Kyiv just this week), Biden seemed to condone what Russia was planning. “It depends on what [President Vladimir Putin] does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do.” At that, even veteran reporters were stunned. What exactly is a “minor incursion?” If Putin invades only part of Ukraine?

Look, CBN’s David Brody said, “Biden can talk about sanctions… but the truth of the matter is that Putin doesn’t respect Biden. And that’s the name of the game in international foreign policy… If you don’t [believe] that the person is going to [follow through] on much of anything, well, then, you’re done.” Calling it a “minor incursion” was a major mistake, as almost everyone — even in the legacy media — agrees. Biden so badly botched the issue that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was forced to reiterate the correct posture later that day — even making a rare appearance on Fox News to do so.

Then there was the insistence that his first year was a complete success, something every political metric disputes. “I don’t even know where to begin,” Brody shook his head. “I mean, have I been sleeping for a year? Maybe I have. President Biden was talking about how he has [outperformed], that’s the word he used, and [insisted] that there’s unity in the country… He went through all of the problems in the economy, and then at the end said, ‘We’re making progress.’ So he’s all over the place.”

He was asked specifically about inflation and didn’t respond — except to say that it has everything to do with the supply chain. Every problem from the beginning of the press conference to the end seemed to go back to the coronavirus, not the president’s own terrible policies. There was no mention of the unconstitutional vaccine mandate, although he was cornered on the new math he’s using to get the percentage of U.S. vaccinations higher.

“You touted the number of Americans who are now fully vaccinated with two shots,” a reporter pointed out. “But even some of your own medical advisors say that people aren’t fully protected unless they have that third shot — a booster. Why hasn’t this White House changed the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ to include that third booster shot? Is it because the numbers of fully vaccinated Americans would suddenly look a lot less impressive?” Biden struggled to answer, meandering around for a few confusing sentences until he finally said, “The answer is yes. Get the booster shot. It’s all part of the same thing.” So which is it — two shots or three? We still don’t know.

At one point, the president lost complete control — shouting at Real Clear Politics reporter Philip Wegmann for asking about his vile speech in Atlanta over voting rights. Wegmann had questioned Biden’s controversial comparison: “Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? … John Lewis or Bull Connor?” It was such an uncomfortable moment that journalists started tweeting about it. “‘GO BACK AND READ WHAT I SAID!’ Biden yells in response to the (mild) Phil Wegmann [asking] a mild question about Biden’s comparison of political opponents to racists…” Mollie Hemingway tweeted. “Holy wow is this weird.” Rich Lowry called it verbal abuse. But whatever people called it, it was another unhelpful picture of Biden unglued. A picture, Brody agreed, that only made more headaches for his staff.

“The White House is clearly protecting him [by not holding more of these events]. And I’ll be honest with you, if I was part of the Biden administration… I’d be protecting him too… He’s his own worst enemy…” A point on which the polls — and world leaders — almost certainly agree.

Originally published here.

A Year in the Strife of Joe Biden

To Joe Biden, it’s been a year. To the rest of the country, it’s felt like an eternity. The one-year anniversary of this president’s inauguration hasn’t exactly been cause for nationwide celebration, as a good number of his voters will tell you. Twelve months into his catastrophic term, only 28 percent of the country would reelect him (and that was before his disaster of a press conference). So when a reporter asked if the country is more unified than when he took office, Joe Biden is right. They are more unified — against him.

Of course, to hear this president tell it, the last several months have been “enormous progress,” the stuff of political legend. One correspondent begged to differ, asking, “Did you overpromise to the American public what you could achieve?” Biden’s response was typical. “I didn’t overpromise, but I have outperformed what anybody thought would happen… Everything is changing,” the president said. “It’s getting better.” People like Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) wondered what planet Biden was living on. “His record is a record of failure,” Johnson insisted. To the average American, this is true. But to the radical Left, he’s outperformed beyond their wildest dreams.

While the rest of the country scrounges for groceries — and the cash to pay for them — look at what Biden has accomplished for his fringe: record-setting abortion dollars, transgender mandates for public schools, attacks on Christian education, chaos at the border, chaos in Afghanistan, chaos in our election system, taxpayer-funded gender reassignments, CRT and LGBT indoctrination in our classrooms, American parents labeled “domestic terrorists,” transgenderism and wokeness in the military, conservatives and the unvaccinated out of the military, higher crime, fewer police, more division. The list goes on and on. Biden is failing on every single political measure except the one he cares about: the socialist Left’s.

“When you look at the pattern of what he’s done,” FRC Vice President Travis Weber pointed out, “it’s bizarre. It’s not in proportion to reality and what most people are concerned about.” He pointed to the 92 actions Biden has taken to undermine life, family, and religious freedom in just his first year — major policies or pronouncements that have altered the course for American values. It’s a record, surprisingly enough, that’s more extreme than Barack Obama’s. And it all points back to an abnormal fixation on things like transgenderism that are distracting from the very real issues our country is facing.

But there is one problem with catering to extremists, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) insisted on “Washington Watch.” Americans don’t like it. “They’re trying to force-feed their radical socialist agenda to the America people, and the American people are standing up and saying, ‘No, we don’t want anything to do with this.’” Unfortunately for Joe Biden, the bill for this gamble is about to come due. And the Democratic Party, limping into November because of this president’s failures, will appropriately be the ones paying it.

Earlier this week, Gallup painted a jarring picture of what’s coming: a 14-point party affiliation swing. It’s among the largest, the company says, it has ever measured for the parties “in any quarter since it started [tracking] party identification and leaning…” Making matters worse, Biden’s approval rating with African Americans is down more than 20 percent (78 to 57 percent), and among Hispanics, he can barely muster 28 percent support. If that’s his idea of a “pretty good” report card, the president is less in touch with reality than people thought.

But then, as his party has made quite clear, they aren’t going to let a little something like voters get in the way of their majority. As the background to Biden’s nightmare of a press conference, Senate Democrats were futilely trying to ram through their election takeover bill to guarantee one-party control. When it failed, the president moved on to plan B: undermining the midterm results.

In a statement that’s more than a little hypocritical, given the party’s outrage over the GOP’s skepticism in 2020, Biden lowered himself to casting doubt on any election the Democrats don’t win. “Oh, 2022… I mean, sure… I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit,” he told reporters at Wednesday’s press conference. “…[T]he increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed.”

“This isn’t normal,” Dan McLaughlin warns. When the president of the United States attacks our election system as “rigged,” he’s “playing with fire.” Sure, “Democrats have a long history of refusing to accept the legitimacy of defeats… But this is still an alarming escalation.” An escalation that was already well on its way when the president equated honest Americans with history’s racists.

It’s certainly a long way from where we were at this point last year when Joe Biden stood at the podium and promised unity. “We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature.” Twelve months later, he’s the one who’s shouting. And disunity rages on like another virus he can’t stop.

Originally published here.

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

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