The great Biden offense that wasn't



The first week of June was supposed to be a very good, very big week for President Joe Biden. It would open with a show of force on the U.S. border, crescendo on an international trip showcasing his command of the international order, and come on the heels of his top political opponent’s conviction on 30-something felonies.

He would be Biden the Tough Guy, Biden the World Leader — a far cry from Donald Trump the Convicted Felon. Only it didn’t go that way at all.

It began on immigration. The president had left a large window of time before his departure for France Tuesday night, and rumors swirled through the press pool that a surprise domestic trip was in the works.

If that possible trip was the border (as many suspected), it never happened. The local politics are tough, and getting border-city mayors to stand behind a president who’d overseen invasion-level illegal crossings would have been difficult at best.

Rumors aside, the president issued his executive order from the White House Tuesday to little fanfare. While the New York Times lauded plugging the loophole in America’s asylum system as common sense (a major shift for an American left that compared Trump’s attempt to turning away Jews in the 1930s), the broader left decried it.

“Biden backs Trump’s asylum ban, proving Dems believe in nothing,” the
headline at the left-wing news site Splinter read. “Biden’s faux border crackdown,” read the editorial in the center-right Spectator.

Then came
the Time magazine profile, meant to lay the groundwork for the week to come. The White House planned for the president’s D-Day commemoration speech to echo President Ronald Reagan’s famed “Boys of Pont du Hoc” address at the same spot 40 years before. And in case you pick up on the similarities from the Time profile, the White House teased the reference to several news outlets the eve of the anniversary.

The magazine piece was titled, “‘We are the world power.’ How Joe Biden leads,” and was the product of the top editors spending 90 minutes touring the White House and sitting in the Oval Office with the president.

It was an impressive tour de force, highlighting his coalition-building with important allies like the Philippines and also his hands-on role expanding NATO, but Time couldn’t miss that the American people don’t buy it. Biden trails Trump on foreign policy in poll after poll. Rightly or wrongly, Americans blame him for the embarrassing and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal and note that Russia had the spine to invade Ukraine on his watch.

Worse, the profile noticed the obvious about the 81-year-old president, “with his stiff gait, muffled voice, and fitful syntax.” The man they sat with, the reporters wrote, “cut a striking contrast with the intense, loquacious figure who served as senator and vice president.”

“The impression he gives is one of advancing age and broad experience, of a man who has lived history.”

Then came the big doozy: The Wall Street Journal piece “Behind closed doors, Biden shows signs of slipping,” which dropped Tuesday night after months of reporting and interviews with dozens and dozens of loyal Democrats and hostile Republicans alike.

Every day the White House spends assuring the public its obviously aging, sometimes babbling, often baffled president is A-OK is a bad day for the White House and a tough day for the comms shop. And instead of previewing the big Normandy speech, Wednesday was spent fruitlessly fighting back against a well-known narrative growing more official with each passing day.

While the president’s uncertain, stiff, and elderly gait as well as his apparent confusion in public settings were on display Thursday morning, the speech hit the exact notes the White House wanted, rising from a slurred cadence when discussing history to a defiant pitch when connecting D-Day to the war in Russia.

It would have been a good day for the president. Far from Reagan’s famous address, as well as former President Donald Trump’s 75th anniversary speech laying out a defense of Western civilization (easily one of his best), but a solid delivery for an 81-year-old man.

While he faced a different direction from his wife and the rest of the dignitaries on stage during taps, and while video of him slowly and awkwardly placing his speech on the floor when finished generated laughs on the internet, the day would have been good. The week would have ended strong and on the offense.

Instead, it ended up vindicating the Journal reporting Democrats had worked so hard to dispel: Sometimes he’s on; other times, not so much.

Blaze Media: John Roberts embarrasses Biden campaign after they accuse him of spreading ‘blatant lie’

Glenn Beck: 80 years after D-Day: Where are the heroes in our midst?

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IN OTHER NEWS

Trump trial train wrecks

An appeals court in Georgia put the Fulton County election subversion case on hold Wednesday while a panel of three judges reviews Judge Scott McAfee’s decision to leave Fani Willis in charge of the case.

McAfee said Willis could still prosecute Trump and his codefendants if her ex-lover, whom she hired and paid handsomely to serve as a special prosecutor, resigned from her office. But now, the appeals court is weighing whether that action went far enough to address the “odor of mendacity” that, the trial judge conceded, hangs over the case because of her affair.

In Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon continues to draw the left’s anger by not giving special counsel Jack Smith everything he demands in Trump’s classified documents case. This week, her latest move — to schedule a hearing for third parties to present oral arguments as to why Smith has no constitutional authority to prosecute Trump — added another roadblock for Biden Department of Justice prosecutors who have started to get feisty about delays in the case. Cannon has started to push back on some of the special counsel’s tactics.

And in Washington, D.C., Judge Tanya Chutkan does not have much to do in Trump’s Jan. 6 case until the Supreme Court releases its decision on whether presidents have any immunity for official actions taken while in office. That will likely come within the next few weeks. But the case may not roar back to life right away when the ruling comes down; some observers read the tea leaves during oral arguments over the immunity issue and got the sense that some justices were leaning toward creating a new legal framework for determining questions of immunity, in which case, courts would have to sort through what that means for Trump’s D.C. indictment before they can get to a trial.

Unlike in Florida with the classified documents case, however, the judge here has shown a willingness to go along with Jack Smith’s effort to rush the case. So if the Supreme Court does leave the door open for Trump to be prosecuted, expect to see Chutkan try to squeeze through it before November.



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