Let’s suppose for a moment that you are running for president and your chief rival just got indicted.
What should your response be?
- A series of viral ads
- A taunting press conference
Normally presidential candidates cash in on the missteps of their opponents. Some of Trump’s GOP rivals may be nervous about going that route, but there isn’t a single reason in the world for Biden not to. He’s certainly not worried that Trump supporters won’t vote for him. And yet there’s a suspicious silence.
President Joe Biden and his top aides have taken a vow of silence on the federal indictment of his predecessor, Donald Trump — and have explicitly ordered the national Democratic Party and his reelection campaign to do the same.
Why do that? According to Team Biden… to avoid any suspicions.
Biden to this point has been explicit: The entities that the White House controls, which includes the reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee, are not to publicly discuss any of the criminal investigations into Trump. Those closest to the president are deeply wary of any perception that Biden is trying to influence the investigations.
“I have never once — not one single time — suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do, relative to bringing a charge or not bringing a charge,” Biden told reporters Thursday. “I’m honest.”
Honest people don’t need to say that they’re honest.
Biden’s avoidance here doesn’t smack of honesty or some imaginary propriety (this is the guy who gave a speech backed by Marines warning that his political opponents were a threat to democracy), but a criminal wary of returning to the scene of the crime.
Guilty people spend much more time trying to get into the headspace of an innocent person than vice versa. They try to imagine what an innocent person would do when confronted with the scene of a crime. They feign too much shock or they talk too much or, if they listen to their lawyers (if they’re not idiots), they shut up.
And Biden, once upon a time, was a lawyer. Not a very good one, but enough to grasp the basics.
Biden’s silence is suspicious because it’s not normal behavior. By staying silent, Biden isn’t demonstrating his detachment, but his avoidance. At a time when his faction is celebrating, he’s laying low because he’s not the innocent bystander, he’s the criminal.