Joe Biden & the Press: Question He'd Be Asked If He Were a Republican

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks to reporters as he departs on campaign travel to North Carolina from New Castle Airport in New Castle, Del., September 23, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Here’s what the press would be asking the former veep.

Mr. Biden, you have a history of cultivating disturbingly close relationships with white supremacists.

As segregationists were dying off in the 1970s, you went out of your way to be pals with them, then bragged about it. You once called notorious segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond “one of my closest friends.” In 1988, when you were mounting a run for president that collapsed when your multiple acts of plagiarism came to light, you deployed a dog whistle when you bragged that the arch-racist former Alabama governor George Wallace had given you a leadership award in 1973. Also in 1988 you noted approvingly that the press would refer to you and Thurmond as the “marvelous marriage” and “the odd couple.” You later delivered a eulogy at Thurmond’s funeral in 2003.

You once told Mississippi senator John Stennis, a racist opponent of school desegregation, that you viewed him as a “hero” and were honored to take over his office after he retired. In 2010 you gave a eulogy at the funeral of Senator Robert Byrd, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan whom you called “a dear friend.” As recently as 2008 you were still bragging that you had “deep personal relationships” with segregationist senators James Eastland, Stennis, and Thurmond, and said, “All these men became my friends.” As recently as 2016 you fondly recalled that you welcomed the assistance of Stennis in one of your Senate reelection campaigns even though Stennis once said, “Those who would mix little children of both races in our schools are following an illegal, immoral, and sinful doctrine.” Isn’t your record of supporting these avowed white supremacists disturbing, disgusting, and disqualifying?

Mr. Biden, President Obama said of you, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.” If the person you worked most closely with considers you a foul-up, why should the American people entrust you with the highest position in the republic?

Mr. Biden, Obama also said of you, “You know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.” Like the foul-up remark, this has never been denied by Obama. Obama also waited until you had effectively clinched the nomination to endorse you. Even when an avowed socialist appeared to be in the lead to be the Democratic Party nominee, Obama said nothing in your support. When you considered running for president in 2016, Obama sent an emissary to talk you out of it, and that was when you were still in your early seventies. Isn’t the tardiness of Obama’s support for you a red flag that suggests you are deeply unsuited for the toughest job on earth?

Mr. Biden, at a presidential debate, you said of your son Hunter, “My son did nothing wrong.” Do you not understand the blatant conflict involved with having a son on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, who was seemingly paid for his connections to you at a time when you, according to the New Yorker magazine, were “playing a central role in overseeing U.S. policy in Ukraine”? Are you seriously arguing that Hunter Biden was hired by the Ukrainians and paid $3.4 million for his energy expertise, of which he has none, rather than as a backdoor way of influencing you and United States policy toward Ukraine?

A former official in the Obama White House told the New Yorker about the Ukraine matter there was a perception that “Hunter was on the loose, potentially undermining his father’s message.” This same person said Hunter should have realized that at least some of the overseas business interests who were paying him did so because they wanted “to be able to say that they are affiliated with Biden.” Moreover, one of your own former business associates told the New Yorker, “The appearance of a conflict of interest is good enough, at this level of politics, to keep you from doing things like that.” Reports say Hunter Biden was paid an astounding $83,000 a month by this Ukrainian company while you were vice president. Will you apologize to the American people for corruptly allowing your cocaine-abusing son to profit from your office as vice president?

Mr. Biden, in December 2013 you took your son Hunter with you on Air Force Two to China, where he promptly introduced you to a businessman named Jonathan Li. Li’s company later gave Hunter a 10 percent stake in an investment fund that now manages some $2 billion. A White House official you worked with told the New Yorker the administration said it appeared that Hunter “was leveraging access for his benefit, which just wasn’t done in that White House. Optics really mattered.” How could you allow this to happen?

Mr. Biden, another Chinese businessman, a billionaire named Ye Jianming, was partners with Hunter on a natural-gas business in Louisiana and also gave Hunter a very large diamond. Ye’s deputy was later arrested in New York on charges of bribing government officials, charges on which he was later convicted. His first call, according to the New York Times, was to your younger brother Jimmy. He also tried to reach Hunter. Do you think you are entitled to allow your family members to profit from your name and connections?

Mr. Biden, while you were vice president in 2010 your brother Jimmy, who had no experience in the construction industry, nevertheless formed a construction company that a few months later was granted a $1.5 billion contract to build housing in Iraq. Isn’t this part of a long pattern of Biden family corruption?

Mr. Biden, in a recent interview Hillary Clinton said “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances.” Do you repudiate this chilling threat to our democratic order and should you lose, will you vow to concede defeat, call for peace and acceptance, and emphasize to your supporters that Donald Trump continues to be the duly elected president of the United States?

Mr. Biden, you have not released medical records since 2008. Dr. David Scheiner, who was Barack Obama’s personal physician for many years, reviewed your records and said, “He’s not a healthy guy.” On day one of your presidency, should you win, you will be 13 years past retirement age and older than any man has ever been at any point while holding that office. This fall you have on many occasions “called a lid,” or shut down all operations for the day, by 9 a.m. Shouldn’t the American people be worried about your health and your lack of transparency about it? Can you really say with a straight face that you have the stamina for the world’s toughest job when you keep retiring for the day at 9 a.m.?

Mr. Biden, there’s been a lot of discussion in Washington about breaking norms these last few years. You have repeatedly refused to answer whether you would sign a bill that would upend the structure of the Supreme Court as we know it and shatter a 151-year norm. You pointed out just last year that if one party added seats to the Supreme Court, the opposing party would naturally be able to do the same and therefore the Supreme Court would become just a political plaything. By not forswearing the various extremist schemes to pack the Supreme Court, don’t you constitute by far the greatest threat to American norms in memory?

Mr. Biden, on January 31, the day President Trump announced his partial shutdown on travel from China, you said, “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia to, uh, and fear-mongering.” When Trump extended the travel restrictions to Europe you said, “A wall will not stop the coronavirus. Banning all travel from Europe — or any other part of the world — will not stop it.” This suggests that you opposed even partial shutdowns of travel from overseas while the virus was raging through the United States. It wasn’t till the catastrophically late date of April 3 that you finally conceded the travel restrictions were a good idea. Wouldn’t your poor judgment and irrational fear of so-called xenophobia have cost many more Americans their lives?

Mr. Biden, you opposed Operation Desert Storm, one of America’s most successful overseas military actions in recent generations, yet voted for the 2003 Iraq War, which did not go as well. You then opposed the Iraq War surge in 2007, which restored a great deal of order to the region. You then opposed the action to assassinate Osama bin Laden in 2011, and lied about it afterwards. President Obama’s first secretary of defense, Robert Gates, even said in an interview that you were “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Shouldn’t your long record of colossal blunders in foreign policy be deeply alarming to the American people?

Mr. Biden, you finished near the bottom of your class at Syracuse Law School, you rely heavily on teleprompters in public appearances and yet you still frequently stumble over the most basic facts, asserting for example that 150 million Americans had died of gun violence or that 200 million Americans had died of COVID-19. How will you prove to the American people that you are cognitively capable of handling the demands of the world’s most demanding office?

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