President Biden’s public appearances in Europe this week have made for a dangerous spectacle of debility and senescence. It does not serve Biden’s interest to take notice. The media have therefore pitched in to airbrush the spectacle.
That is the point Kyle Smith makes in the York Post column “Media works overtime to clean up Joe Biden’s word salads.” In his Wall Street Journal Best of the Web column James Freeman offers the constructive practical advice that “The President should avoid public speaking.”
The White House has posted transcripts of Biden’s remarks in Europe here (March 24 press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels), here (March 25 remarks during visit with members of the 82nd Airborne Division in Rzeszów, Poland), and here (March 25 remarks on humanitarian efforts with President Andrzej Duda of Poland, also in Rzeszów).
Smith quotes Biden’s testament to his own prowess in response to “a bizarre question about how, assuming he is defeated when he runs for re-election, possibly by Donald Trump, he would stop the next president from undoing things he has done.” Smith paused here to observe: “Biden’s answer should have been, ‘That’s not how this works. Ex-presidents don’t get to tell their successors what to do, sorry. Re-elect me!’” But no. Biden showed he’s got half a mind to ramble.
The German reporter Smith quoted is Der Spiegel Brussels bureau chief Markus Becker. Markus is the kind of guy to whom Barack Obama was appealing as a presidential candidate in Berlin with his speech of July 2008. (You can look it up.) Asked if there is anything Biden and NATO are doing to carve Biden’s work in stone to prevent from being undone by another president following the 2024 election, Biden held forth as follows:
I’ve been dealing with foreign policy for longer than anybody that’s involved in this process right now. I have no concerns about the impact —
I made a commitment when I ran this time. I wasn’t going to run again, and I mean that sincerely. I had no intention of running for President again and — until I saw those folks coming out of the fields in Virginia carrying torches and carrying Nazi banners and literally singing the same vile rhyme that they used in Germany in the early ‘20s — or ‘30s, I should say. And then, when the gentleman you mentioned was asked what he thought — and a young woman was killed, a protester — and he asked — was asked what he thought, he said, “There are very good people on both sides.” [See John Hinderaker’s post “Joe Biden, liar.”] And that’s when I decided I wasn’t going to be quiet any longer.
And when I ran this time — and I think the American press, whether they look at me favorably or unfavorably [sic], acknowledge this — I made a determination: Nothing is worth — no election is worth my not doing exactly what I think is the right thing. Not a joke. I’m too long in the tooth to fool with this any longer.
And so, we’re a long way off in elections — a long way off. My focus of any election is on making sure that we retain the House and the United States Senate so that I have the room to continue to do the things that I’ve been able to do in terms of grow the economy and deal in a rational way with American foreign policy and lead the world — lead the — be the leader of the free world.
So — but it’s not a — it’s not an illogical question for someone to ask. I say to people at home: Imagine if we sat and watched the doors of the Bundestag broken down and police officers killed and hundreds of people storming in, or imagine if we saw that happening in the British Parliament or whatever. How would we feel?
And one of the things that I take some solace from is: I don’t think you’ll find any European leader who thinks that I am not up to the job. And I mean that sincerely. It’s not like, “Whoa…” It’s that — that —
The point is that when — the first G7 meeting I attended, like the one I did today, was in Great Britain. And I sat down, and I said, “America is back.” And one of the — one of my counterparts, colleagues, a head of state, said, “For how long?” “For how long?”
And so, I don’t blame — I don’t — I don’t criticize anybody for asking that question. But the next election, I’d be very fortunate if I had that same man running against me.
There is more, and worse, in the transcript of this press conference and the other linked remarks.