'Angry' Joe Biden Could Mean Trouble for Donald Trump and the GOP

Joe Biden
February 9, 2024 Topic: Politics Region: Americas Blog Brand: Jacob Heilbrunn Tags: Joe Biden2024 ElectionU.S. PoliticsDonald Trump

'Angry' Joe Biden Could Mean Trouble for Donald Trump and the GOP

In creating an angry Joe Biden, the GOP has jolted him out of his passivity. Rather than sleepwalking into the presidential election, he’s all fired up.

President Joe Biden took a leaf from Donald Trump last night and came out swinging. “How the hell dare he,” Biden declared last night in response to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report. Soon, he’ll be talking about a nefarious deep state and the need for retribution.

Biden was, of course, pleased not to be charged for mishandling classified documents but vexed by the suggestion that his memory is so fallible that he cannot recall when his son Beau died.

But Republicans, who have been calling Biden a sissy in foreign affairs, pounced when he referred to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as “the president of Mexico.” 

Whether either Joe Biden is really experiencing rapid cognitive decline has become the question du jour. Forget Ukraine, the border, or the Gaza Strip.

The pundit class would prefer to focus on whether or not Joe Biden has all his marbles. With Donald Trump, the answer seems almost too obvious to merit discussion. He never had them in the first place.

Donald Trump Is Coming

While Democrats wring their hands about Joe Biden, Trump continues to consolidate his power over the GOP. His former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, just flamed out in Nevada. Ronna McDaniel has been defenestrated.

Her relative, Senator Mitt Romney, whose last name she dropped at Trump’s behest, is retiring. In a last spasm of independence, a clutch of GOP senators may approve aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, but whether the Republican House will follow suit is an open question.

It’s more than a little ironic that as Capitol Hill melts down, the true hubbub surrounds Biden. For an old-school politician like Biden, it amounts to le-majesty to ridicule his mental faculties openly. He wants to operate based on tacit rules—Clarence Thomas gets a pass, Mitch McConnell is his buddy, and so on. He explicitly promised to go back to the future during his 2020 campaign.

It never happened. Instead, the MAGA ethos is swamping the swamp it claims it wants to destroy. But whether the chaos will benefit Trump and the GOP is another matter. Trump is running as the strongman who can set aright what is wrong. But maybe the incessant attacks on Biden will boomerang.

In creating an angry Joe Biden, they have jolted him out of his passivity. Rather than sleepwalking into the presidential election, he’s all fired up.

About the Author

Jacob Heilbrunn is editor of The National Interest and is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He has written on both foreign and domestic issues for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Reuters, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard. He has also written for German publications such as Cicero, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Der Tagesspiegel. In 2008, his book They Knew They Were Right: the Rise of the Neocons was published by Doubleday. It was named one of the one hundred notable books of the year by The New York Times. He is the author of America Last: The Right’s Century-Long Romance with Foreign Dictators, coming soon.

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.