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Biden's MSNBC Interview Was a Disaster

Screenshot via MSNBC/YouTube

On Friday, President Biden startled reporters by stating that he would be holding a "major press conference" later that afternoon.  Journalists scrambled.  This was unexpected news, especially given how historically rarely Biden answers questions in such settings.  Within minutes, the White House cleaned up after Biden, 'clarifying' that the president had 'misspoken.'  There would be no press conference.  One had not been planned.  The president just...said it, and his team had to manage the fallout.  Perhaps, some speculated, Biden was mistakenly referring to an interview he was taping with MSNBC, which was to air later that night?  That's possible, I suppose, but this man has been in politics for 50 years.  Beyond that, it doesn't take an experienced political insider to grasp the difference between a sit-down interview and a "major news conference."  Bizarre and concerning.


That interview did, however, take place, airing late Friday night.  It was a disaster.  Let's start with his proclamation that his son has "done nothing wrong."  The White House sometimes makes a big show out of the president declining to comment on active investigations, which is generally the appropriate course of action.  Under other circumstances, Biden has not only prejudiced investigations, but forced them into existence after (wrongly and shamefully) pre-announcing the outcome he wanted.  The multi-pronged Hunter Biden matter is complex and potentially quite dangerous for the administration.  There have been multiple reports that the president's son has, in fact, done multiple things wrong, including multiple potential criminal violations.  He has been under federal investigation for several years now.  A whistleblower is reportedly coming forward to allege that the case has been improperly handled for political reasons.  

Under that set of circumstances, it's highly problematic and unethical for the leader of the executive branch to publicly assert that a member of his immediate family who is still the subject of a federal probe being conducted by the branch of government he leads has done "nothing wrong."  But that's exactly what Biden did, again:


Even a number of non-conservative and left-leaning commentators and analysts have noted how big of an issue this presidential pronouncement was. If the whistleblower produces evidence that there's been some sort of political interference in this case, the president doubling down with this nationally-televised comment looks even worse. Especially in a moment like this, in which an indictment may be imminent.  Then there were the moments that underscore Biden's age-related performance concerns:

That first two clips are rough (also, Biden absolutely did not "cut the debt" by a penny -- it has rocketed ever higher). The third one is worse. Despite the attempted intervention of an aide, Biden refers to Donald Trump as Barack Obama, then realizes his mistake, then...cannot remember the name Trump.  If he hadn't just said 'Obama,' the way he ends up describing Trump could have been plausibly explained away as a desire to reference the last president without naming him.  But he used a name, got it wrong, then quite plainly couldn't recall the correct one.  If he didn't have these sorts of moments, with seemingly increasing regularity, the fact that he's the oldest president ever at 80 wouldn't be such an issue.  But here we are.  This is also just incredibly weak:


The news media is largely on Biden's side.  Most journalists lie somewhere in between ideologically sympathetic to active boosters.  They helped get him elected:

So to pretend Americans are unhappy because they're only hearing negativity is something that someone in a deeply padded cocoon would say under these circumstances.  Also, people have been hearing and feeling lots of negativity because of the governing outcomes of this presidency.  The cold feelings have been earned.  And the feelings are, indeed, quite chilly:

In the same new poll, both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis lead Biden head-to-head in hypothetical match-ups by seven points.  Many more Americans believe Trump's economy was better than Biden's, probably because that's true.  And on the public's assessments mental acuity and overall health, Biden is struggling mightily.  This is just a brutal passage:


On mental acuity, 94% of Republicans, 69% of independents and 21% of Democrats said Biden lacks the sharpness to be president. "Just 32% overall think Biden has the mental sharpness it takes to serve effectively as president, down steeply from 51% when he was running for president three years ago," ABC's Gary Langer notes. 54% think Trump has the needed mental sharpness. On physical health needed to govern, just 33% think Biden, age 80, has it — vs. 64% for Trump, who's 76. [Fifty-eight percent] of Democratic-leaning adults want to nominate someone besides Biden.

Re-read that last sentence.  The incumbent announced his re-election bid less than two weeks ago, and nearly six and ten of his own party's voters still want someone else.  Relatedly, I'll leave you with this:


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