Contrary to many people’s belief, Joe Biden is not a bad president, so far. On the contrary, he has all the knowledge – from his long involvement in foreign policy – to become a good president. Maybe a historic president.
We can assess him in terms of his accomplishments – from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that he sent to Congress to the way he is handling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, there is a worrying problem – the things he says. What he said, for example, during his visit to Europe last week and specifically in Poland where he also met with refugees from Ukraine.
There, perhaps under the burden of intercontinental travel and emotion and its psychological strain, he added a strong personal tone to his relationship with Putin – a serious tactical mistake. He went so far as to call him a “butcher.”
And the worst part is that he added: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
Of course, Russia is not a Banana Republic on which America can impose a regime change.
Thus, after the reaction of the leaders of America’s allies (Macron, for example), his associates refuted this statement, giving various explanations that were not very convincing.
Later he explained what he said better.
I admit that I was also worried by other Biden statements in the past, for example, “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do.”
These statements at least give the impression that he does not understand what he is saying or that there are moments when he has no contact with reality.
The other day, my eye caught a commentary by James Freeman in the Wall Street Journal titled ‘The President Should Avoid Public Speaking’ which was in fact the most read article on their website. It is not every day that you read such a proposal, in a credible newspaper, about the American President.
He said: “Yes, it’s important for all of us to be able to hear from our elected officials … But this particular elected official does not appear to be up to the task. While we consider the implications, Mr. Biden should try to say as little as possible in public during an international crisis.”
Freeman also noted that “two months after a bumbling press conference in which Mr. Biden implied that a ‘minor incursion’ by Russia into Ukraine might be tolerable to the U.S. and its allies, the President flew to Europe this week and somehow ended up taking questions from reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels.”
And more: “A good number of us will cling to the belief that the president was confused and didn’t understand what he was saying, which is all the more reason for him to avoid deviating from a prepared text in this perilous time.”
This is probably an extreme proposal, charged with a large dose of partisanship.
The fact that it is even raised, however, is disturbing.
Biden has long been known to make gaffes. But now he is neither a senator nor a vice president. He is President. That is why he must pay special attention to this issue. Because if this continues, it will create a serious problem of credibility for him – but also for the country.