Last week, special counsel Robert Hur released an explosive report on Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, in which he described Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory.” The report was politically devastating because it corroborated what most Americans already suspected.
And in response, Donald Trump actually said, “Hold my beer!” »
At a rally in South Carolina on Saturday, Trump said to Nikki Haley (whose husband is deployed overseas, serving our country), “Where is your husband? Oh, he’s missing. Is absent. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He left! They had. They had.”
The same day, Trump also warned that he would not defend NATO allies who fail to meet their defense spending guidelines. “No, I won’t protect you. In fact, I would encourage (Russia) to do what it wants… You have to pay your bills.
Then, on Super Bowl Sunday, Trump wrote: “I signed and was responsible for the Music Modernization Act for Taylor Swift and every other musical artist. Joe Biden has done nothing for Taylor and never will. There is no way she could support Crooked Joe Biden…and be disloyal to the man who made her so much money…”
And just like that, Trump threw a lifeline to the drowning Biden. Before Trump’s intervention, a media binge eating had followed. Even mainstream media and liberal pundits are “highlighting” the issue of Biden’s mental acuity,” as Fox News noted.
“It’s terrible for the Democrats,” former Clinton adviser Paul Begala said on CNN. “Anyone with a functioning brain knows that.” (A bit too pointed a comment, in my opinion.)
Indeed, Biden’s story of memory problems carried weight. It was a hot topic on the Sunday morning shows (even as Biden surrogates tried to downplay questions about the president’s mental health). And it even had a timely tie-in to the Super Bowl, where Biden’s decision to forgo a pregame interview drew boos from Begala’s former partner, Democratic strategist James Carville.
“It’s the biggest television audience,” Carville lamented. “And you don’t?” This is kind of a sign that the staff or you yourself don’t have much confidence in you. There is no other way to read this.
The problem for Biden (and his team) is that he doesn’t have the physical or rhetorical ability to change what we already know about him: he is too old for this shit.
“Biden is stuck in a bind,” says Walter Shapiro at The New Republic. “The only way to combat the infamous… accusations that Biden is senile is to send the president out in public for extended periods of time without a teleprompter. But every time Biden leaves the protective cocoon that surrounds him, he runs the risk of speaking badly…”
The good news for Biden is that the story has been removed from the front page, so to speak, by Trump.
Rather than let Biden wallow in weeks of bad press, Trump preferred to talk about his favorite subject instead: Asset. And, in typical fashion, we agreed. Trump is catnip for the media, and his comments (whether he’s talking about Haley, NATO, or Swift) are legitimately newsworthy.
And his comments are also narrative regarding how Trump might behave if given a second term. Each of these examples reinforces a narrative about Trump’s character and worldview.
Attacking Haley’s husband fits perfectly with a man known for insulting military families.
Alienating allies and threatening to withdraw U.S. support for NATO is also familiar territory.
Trump’s assumption that Swift owes him loyalty recalls the expectations he had of people he allegedly helped — ranging from Rep. Debbie Dingell (he gave her husband “highest American honors for his funeral” ) to American Jews (“No president has done more for Israel than me”). Most non-MAGA people don’t like condescending, transactional bullies, so you should expect this type of behavior to be a turn-off for influential voters who will decide the 2024 election.
It’s also no surprise that Trump joined in the inexplicable culture war battle MAGA has declared against Swift and her boyfriend, Travis Kelce. But it’s also hard to imagine how fighting with one of the most popular and beloved celebrities on the planet and a football superstar competing in the Super Bowl – still the most-watched television event on the planet ‘year – will please everyone except the most online in the MAGA swamp.
And the Kansas City Chiefs’ thrilling overtime victory gave Biden’s social media handlers the opportunity for a quick, succinct burn, as they tweeted a ““Dark Brandon” meme with the caption “Just like we wrote it” – a direct reference to the crazy MAGA conspiracy theory that the Chiefs’ success and Swift/Kelce romance are part of a Deep State “psych operation” .
Once again, “normal” people don’t like this deranged stuff that appeals so well to the Trump base. It also shows that even on someone else’s big day, Trump must be the center of attention. To paraphrase Alice Roosevelt, Trump must be the pop diva at every concert and the star of every Super Bowl.
Under normal conditions, this kind of self-centeredness is off-putting. But Trump, interrupting a narrative that Biden was too old, was also strategically stupid.
It is safe to say that attacking deployed military personnel is not a majority position in America. Likewise, it’s not wise to oppose Taylor Swift (and the Swifties). And American support for NATO is surprisingly popular.
These latest examples of Trump stirring the proverbial pot are stupid – but not as stupid as him changing the subject from the question “Is Joe Biden senile?” conversation.
“Never interfere with an enemy when he is destroying himself” is advice (attributed to Napoleon) that Donald Trump has clearly forgotten, if he ever knew it in the first place.
Apparently Uncle Joe isn’t the only one with cognitive issues.
Gn En Hd