Before running for president, Joe Biden was a Tip O’Neil throwback — an affable, East coast, Irish-Catholic, pragmatic, deal-cutting, blue-collar, backslapping pol. The type of Democrat that I could have an affinity for. Precisely the kind of candidate in 2020 who could have appealed to a Republican who couldn’t vote for Donald Trump in 2016, like me.
As Biden ran, as he said, to “save the soul of the nation,” he morphed into “Soulless Joe.”
Political conventional wisdom is that in primaries, Democrats tack to the left and Republicans to the right. In the general election, both are supposed to maneuver toward the center. When Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate, based on her gender and race, he proved this wasn’t your father’s Joe Biden.
Biden’s gaffes and judgment haven’t changed throughout his 50-year public career, but when he entered the White House, Biden demonstrated a new trait that is especially exhausting. Biden plays the blame game. Everything is Trump’s fault.
Biden has consistently blamed Trump for Covid deaths. I can’t say he never credited Trump for Operation Warp Speed, which produced the Covid vaccines in record time. He did it twice. However, Trump loyalists would find it harder to say no to the vaccine if Biden left his ego in the Oval Office and threw a little more light his predecessor’s way. With Trump, flattery will get you everywhere.
Although largely ignored now, the Afghanistan withdrawal is one of Biden’s biggest and deadliest disasters. At the time, Biden explained it was Trump’s fault for making a deal with the Taliban. For some reason, THIS was the one Trump policy Biden was bound to and couldn’t change. Although the last troops withdrew after the negotiated date, Biden still blamed Trump.
During the mid-term campaign, Biden often stated that Trump grew the national debt by 25 percent. The fact checkers might say: “needs context.” Because while unto itself that is a true statement (actually, it grew more), debt measured in dollars doesn’t tell the story. The relevant figure is debt as a percentage of our gross domestic product (GDP). When Trump took office, the debt was 104 percent of GDP. At the end of his administration, it was 107 percent of GDP.
For context, the national debt grew 87 percent ($10.6T to $19.9T) under Obama/Biden and from 87 percent to 104 percent of GDP. As of January 2023, the debt grew to $31.4T and is over 123 percent of GDP. Biden added over $2T to the national debt in 2022, the largest single-year increase in the nation’s history. It’s time to stop blaming Trump.
When the Biden administration had to acknowledge that a Chinese spy balloon had penetrated U.S. airspace, they were quick to add that three prior incidents happened when Trump was president.
Former Trump administration Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CNN he was “surprised” by that statement. “I don’t ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States,”
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, asked on “CNN This Morning,” “Did the Biden administration invent a time machine? What is the basis of this new detection?” U.S. military and Intel agencies discovered spy balloons were over the country while Trump was president only after he was out of office.
Their reflexive reaction, “but Trump,” is unflattering.
The train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, created a dangerous situation for area residents. The Biden administration botched the initial response. To date, the president has not visited the site. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came 20 days later, a couple of days after Trump. They quickly pointed out that Trump had rolled back Obama-era train safety regulations.
They left out saying that those rules would not have applied to the train that derailed in East Palestine. The Washington Post’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, wrote, “none of the regulatory changes made during the Trump administration at this point can be cited as contributing to the accident.”
Why have no reporters asked why a person who rode the train every day for decades and claimed to love rail never bothered to reinstate these supposedly all-important rules two years into his administration? The Obama-era regulations were so critical that neither Biden, nor Buttigieg, nor anyone else noticed they weren’t there until it was convenient to blame Trump.
More recently, a Michigan woman, Rebecca Kiessling, whose two sons died from fentanyl, came to Capitol Hill to testify before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing about the US-Mexico border.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) blamed Biden for their deaths. Her comments were idiotic, but so is almost everything she says (sorry Republicans, she’s an embarrassment).
Biden can’t help himself. During a speech at the Democratic House Caucus Issues Conference in Baltimore, I presume Biden went off prompter. He said, “I shouldn’t digress, probably. I’ve read she [Taylor Greene] was very specific recently saying that a mom, a poor mother who lost two kids to fentanyl, that I killed her sons. Well, the interesting thing: That fentanyl they took came during the last administration.” Biden then laughed clumsily.
Under which administration the cache of fentanyl, that killed her sons, arrived misses the point. It was the only mention of fentanyl in Biden’s remarks. Rather than assigning blame, Biden should have laid out the dangers of fentanyl and the need for the Caucus to work with his administration to stem the problem.
Again, he blamed Trump instead of taking action. The blowback was predictable.
The grieving mother has asked the president for an apology. Instead, Biden sent press flack Karin Jean-Pierre out to explain that Biden has empathy. It shouldn’t be necessary to send an ill-equipped press secretary to explain to reporters that the president has empathy.
While the White House wants credit for the strong job reports, or when gas prices go down, although not up, anything negative is not Biden’s fault. Whenever anything unfavorable happens, one size fits all: “Trump’s fault.” Two years and halfway through this term, Biden needs to find a new excuse for his failures and inadequacies.
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.