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Are the Bidens talking too much?

President Joe Biden meets with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday.


Evan Vucci/Associated Press

This column recently advised President Joe Biden to stop speaking in public, at least when the subject matters. Mr. Biden’s habit of making off-the-cuff, thoughtless remarks argues for carefully crafted policy statements. Ideally, the president would take special care to avoid off-the-cuff comments about nuclear-weapon regimes. It now appears that some people in the White House agree with this column.

Unfortunately, the president is not among them. Carol Lee, Peter Nicholas, Kristen Welker and Courtney Kube of NBC News report:

Facing a worsening political situation, President Joe Biden is pressing his aides for a more compelling message and sharper strategy while bristling at how they tried to stifle the plain-language character who has long been one of its most powerful assets.

Readers who have tried to map out Biden’s sentences may disagree that the president speaks clearly, and some may even wonder if his public conversation is a “power asset.” But NBC’s report offers an intriguing picture of the Biden White House, informed largely by unnamed sources:

. . . Biden is unhappy with a pattern that has developed inside the West Wing. He makes a clear, succinct statement – only to have aides rush in to explain that he actually meant something else. The so-called clean-up campaign, he told advisers, undermines him and stifles the authenticity that fueled his rise. Worse, it’s fueling a Republican talking point that he’s not entirely in control.

The issue came to a head when Biden said during a speech in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot stay in power.” Within minutes, Biden aides attempted to backtrack on his comments, saying he had not called for Putin’s impeachment and that US policy was unchanged. Biden was furious that his remarks were seen as unreliable, arguing that he is speaking sincerely and reminding his staff that he is the president.

Asked about the staff’s practice of clarifying Biden’s remarks, the official said, “We don’t say anything the president doesn’t want us to say.”

What are we going to do with this? Introducing publicly the subject of regime change for a country that not only possesses WMD but is actually one of the world’s largest suppliers of such weapons should never be an impulsive move. Beyond the political substance, if this report is accurate, it only seems to confirm suspicions that Mr. Biden is not entirely responsible. The people running the “cleansing campaign” all serve at the pleasure of the president. If he doesn’t want such a campaign, he can fire them. This column hoped that the cleanups were happening under the direction of the president after acknowledging his mistakes, which is consistent with the last quote in the previous passage. But the anger attributed to Mr Biden suggests White House staff are not following his instructions. How many of Mr. Biden’s predecessors had to remind staff who the president was?

NBC’s report goes through a litany of Biden disappointments, but history reminds us that the president recorded a very significant public relations achievement. Mr. Biden has convinced many of the media to accept the economic fairy tale he has been telling since the beginning of his presidency. Even though the economy had been booming for months when he took office, the NBC team reports:

Any assessment of Biden’s performance must take into account the epic challenges he faced early on.

“They arrived with arguably the most daunting set of challenges since Franklin D. Roosevelt, only to be hit with a perfect storm of crises, from Ukraine to inflation to supply chain and baby formula,” said Chris Whipple, the author of a book on White House chiefs of staff who is currently writing a book on the Biden presidency. “What next? Grasshoppers?”

Biden wonders the same thing.

“I heard him say recently that he used to say about President Obama’s tenure that everything landed on his desk except the grasshoppers, and now he understands what that does,” an official said. White House.

Amid a series of calamities, Biden’s feeling lately is that he just can’t catch a break. “Biden is frustrated. If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” said someone close to the president.

Media rotation is one thing, but Mr. Biden to believe his own twist appears to be behind many of the nation’s current challenges. Despite the economy rebounding smartly when he took office, Mr. Biden demanded and received from congressional Democrats a $1.9 trillion “bailout” package, while discounting the risks.

Looking back now at the inflation debacle Mr. Biden helped create, Mike Madden and Rachel Siegel of The Washington Post recall the events of early 2021:

In the State Dining Room of the White House on February 5, President Biden argues that the US economy is at greater risk from doing too little to fight the recession than from doing too much. His administration had pushed a sweeping stimulus package intended to reduce unemployment, inject new firepower into the anemic labor market and grow the economy rapidly. “If we make these investments now, with interest rates at historic lows, we will generate more growth, higher incomes, a stronger economy, and our country’s finances will be in a stronger position as well.” , Biden said. “So for me the biggest risk is not if we go too big, if we go there, it’s if we go too small.”

The sizable spending explosion was signed into law in March and for many months after, Mr. Biden failed to understand what was happening in the US economy. The Posties report:

On July 19, 2021, President Biden downplayed the risk of lingering inflation, telling reporters that price hikes “should be temporary.”

Even now, nearly a year later, does the president understand the problem that arises when Washington fuels consumer demand while simultaneously discouraging producers from providing goods and services? According to the NBC report:

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., said the White House failed to come up with what she called an “intellectually honest” plan to fight inflation – a burden that ranks first among concerns economies of Americans, according to the polls. A bill passed by the House to clamp down on alleged gas price hikes is not an answer, she said.

“If I look frustrated, it’s because I hear from my constituents,” Murphy said. ” They have difficulty. This is not the time for political games. Now is not the time to find bogeymen.


Talking about Bidens speaking in public
Notwithstanding the administration’s internal debate over whether the president should ever turn to unscripted public remarks, it’s a safe bet there’s unanimity in the White House on whether a another Biden is expected to make public comments.

The Washington Post editors, finally interested in the Biden family business only a year and a half after the 2020 election – and even longer since the New York Post broke the Hunter Biden email story – published a report by Matt Viser, who managed to get first brother James Biden on the phone.

In his report, Mr. Viser first notes a pep talk emailed in September 2017 by James Biden to Hunter Biden and adds:

James and Hunter Biden were in the midst of a lucrative deal with Chinese executives at the time, while Joe Biden was out of public service for the first time in nearly half a century, having left the vice presidency a few months earlier. . . Hunter received another email from his uncle urging him to take advantage of a Joe Biden-related financial opportunity. The urgency is clear, even if the specific subject is not.

“You need to call me now,” James Biden wrote on October 1, 2017. “I just hung up on your dad. . . We have ahead of us the two biggest days of our professional life!!!!!! Let’s be smart, otherwise everything will go up in smoke! Please call me. You MUST remain calm. The timing couldn’t be worse. Calm and measured !!!! Refunds can come later.

. . . In a rare phone interview, James Biden said he was trying to keep a low profile, and he used more than a few swear words to describe the unwanted attention from Republicans and the media. “I’m the guy who helps with everything. When it comes to my family, I try to be as supportive as possible,” he said. “But this notion of ‘fixer’, or any reference with a negative connotation, is offensive.”

He added: ‘The idea that I’m an underworld figure and I’m a fixer or the cleaner or I’m this or that – I’m a very worried family member trying to protect my family from all the possible ways, in what is a very ethical way.

Several times during the interview, James Biden mused aloud that he shouldn’t speak to a reporter, then spoke again. Eventually his wife, Sara, came into the room and advised him to cut off the conversation. “Talk to a real person who knows me,” James Biden said, then offered, “Guess what? Not many do.

Maybe one day Americans will know more about the whole family. Mr. Viser reports:

James and Hunter Biden signed a lucrative deal in 2017 with officials from Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC. As The Post previously reported, the company and its executives paid out $4.8 million to entities controlled by both Bidens over the course of 14 months, even though the energy projects Hunter Biden discussed with CEFC did not turn up. are never materialized.

The arrangement provided Hunter Biden with a monthly allowance of $100,000 while his uncle received $65,000, according to records on the copy of Hunter Biden’s hard drive, as well as bank documents obtained by Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). James and Hunter Biden declined to answer questions about this arrangement.

A source close to Biden, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, declined to comment on several specific questions about his legal issues, saying only that “Jim Biden has always maintained that he conducted himself ethically and honorably in all its dealings”. relationships.”

There are some issues that even anonymous sources don’t want to address.


James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival”.


Follow James Freeman on Twitter.

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(Teresa Vozzo helps compile Best of the Web. Thanks to Harry Forbes and Aaron Burt.)

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