Joe Biden is unfit to be President of the United States. It was obvious when he was running for office that he lacks the physical stamina and mental acuity for the job. It has become increasingly obvious since January that the part-time President has either hidden from the media or stumbled through the kind of scripted press conferences that Americans rightly used to deride as the hallmark of banana republics.
The handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan has exposed Biden’s incapacity. The painful truth is now undeniable. He must go — even if that means Kamala Harris, who has been similarly wrong about Afghanistan and much else besides, taking over.
They say success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. This failure is a two-parent family. One is the mother of all institutional failures: the inadequacy of technocrats, so convinced of their intellectual and moral superiority that they respond to the intrusions of reality with snark and pique.
An administration exquisitely sensitive to pronouns, bathrooms and fictitious forms of self-identification has shown itself to be brutally insensitive to the fate of Afghans who have risked all by self-identifying as allies of the United States and everything it once stood for.
This is a disgrace to the United States. Hard as it may be to believe, people all over the world still look to the United States as the last, best hope. The administration’s response, blaming it on the media, only adds further shame.
Biden, the King Lear of the Beltway, is the father of this failure. Not because for decades he has tacked back and forth with the foolish wisdom of the hour in Washington, and thus bears responsibility for the misconceived war for imperial democracy. Not because his appeal last November, to his party and the voters, was heavy on old-school Scrantonite paternalism. Not even because he put his hand up with a risible ‘buck stops here’ speech that lobbed the buck at everyone else. But because on the occasions when he hasn’t been dozing at the switch, Biden has made decisions that have chronically worsened the situation.
The picture of arrogance and incompetence that is emerging would tax the painterly skills of a Hunter Biden. The President insisted on rapid withdrawal despite warnings from the State Department, the Pentagon, and the intelligence services — then repeatedly denied that he had been warned.
The President insisted that all American citizens and American-allied personnel would be extricated from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, as the hapless spokesmen of the State Department and the Pentagon admitted that no one had any idea of how many people needed extraction, scenes of unspeakable tragedy play out at Kabul airport.
The President claimed on Thursday that the US’s allies were forewarned and supported this precipitate flight, yet they are openly disgusted at being abandoned.
The President claimed on Friday that he’d heard ‘no questioning’ from allies — yet the British parliament made global headlines when it held the leader of its closest ally in contempt.
The President also claimed on Friday that anyone who waved an American passport at the gates of Kabul airport would be admitted. Meanwhile, we watched people being crushed to death, babies being passed over barbed wire, and tear gas being used by our side, along with reports of the Taliban, who are now, it emerges on our side, randomly beating and shooting people.
Biden’s evident incapacity to keep up with events — and his belligerent denial of the facts and his responsibility for them — have become so evident that even the media, which covered for his debility in the 2020 elections and have protected him since, have turned on him. CNN and the BBC are now fact-checking their saviour. On Saturday night, ABC’s Jonathan Karl bluntly said that what Biden is saying ‘simply don’t comport with reality’.
Donald Trump would never have let this happen: he is too vain. If Trump had gifted Blackhawk helicopters and a lifetime supply of Humvees to our enemies, condemned thousands of our allies to the nastiest of fates and made the United States military and diplomats a laughing stock before the entire world, the media and the Democrats would be calling for impeachment and dusting off the articles of treason.
If Trump had confused his Vice President with a ‘general’ or fumbled with his cue cards because he couldn’t match a scripted question to a scripted answer, as Biden did at his press conference on Thursday; or shown the bizarre callousness and failure of short-term memory in his ‘That was four days ago, five days ago!’ outburst; or spontaneously abandoned the policy of strategic ambiguity on Taiwan in an interview with ABC, as Biden did with George Stephanopoulos on Thursday, the psychiatrists would be lining up outside the cable stations to explain why the 25th Amendment needed to be deployed now.
It’s that simple. The buck really does stop with the President. The world has always seen Biden’s incapacity, and now the American people can see it too. He carries direct responsibility for a disaster so undeniable that even a partisan media can no longer deny it. He can neither speak truthfully nor accurately. Not so much the emperor with no clothes, as Lear’s fool on the heath, naked and shivering as the kingdom comes to the ‘great confusion’.
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This article first appeared on The Spectator World edition website.