Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Last year, Joe Biden had been renting a $6 million miniature version of the White House with crystal chandeliers, a home theater, and parking for 20 cars in McLean, Virginia.
The former home of Secretary of State Alexander Haig, the estate was perfect for schmoozing Beltway insiders, courting donors, and letting an elderly politician play house with his own White House.
But coronavirus cases have been rising steadily in Northern Virginia. And the little Biden White House with its gourmet kitchens, its 7 fireplaces, and its huge seashell driveway would go on standing empty, and costing the Bidens a whole lot of money, while potential donors fled and the pandemic closed in.
With Virginia’s restaurants shutting down and the cocktail party circuit fading, Biden headed back to wait out the coronavirus in his Bidenbunker in Delaware.
There are worse places to wait out the end of the world than Delaware, but few worse places to run for the White House. And Biden’s efforts to retrofit his Wilmington mansion into a Bidenbunker from which the presumptive Democrat nominee can run his campaign and speak to the nation were disastrous.
Construction got underway on the Bidenbunker by turning the mansion’s rec room into a TV studio. Despite sitting on a pile of money, the campaign managed to botch the Bidenbunker every step of the way. The few people who watched Biden’s “shadow” briefings were confronted with Joe Biden standing in front of a blue campaign podium in what looked like a thrift store with books, photos, and posters randomly arranged on every shelf. A nightstand contained a lamp and three photos jockeyed for space.
What might have been a nice touch in a homey campaign ad is not remotely reassuring in a crisis.
If a desk is a metaphor for the mind, Biden’s background was a perfect metaphor for a badly aged politician with a scrambled mind full of disarranged stuff who can’t find anything or finish a sentence.
And then there’s the technical bugbears bedeviling the Bidenbunker.
Even though the Bidenbunker’s internet seems to have been upgraded, the sound has been a mess. Since its first virtual town hall, the Biden campaign has been making its boss sound even more confused and incoherent than he naturally is with audio glitches, equipment breakdowns, and bad cues.
It’s not just that Joe Biden is confused. His campaign seems to be even more confused.
Biden’s first shadow briefing was supposed to be at 11.30 AM. At least that’s what he told donors and supporters. Then it actually arrived at 10.30 AM. Biden didn’t realize he was live. There were audio problems and his teleprompter broke. Far more Republicans ended up watching clips of what looked like Biden having a breakdown in the Bidenbunker than anyone tuned in for the original shadow briefing.
The shadow briefing idea had been stupid and inappropriate. The implementation made it even worse.
America is not a parliamentary democracy. We don’t have shadow governments. The Constitution set forth a strong chief executive to handle emergencies. Once elected, he’s in there for the duration. We can have elections during a crisis, but Thomas Dewey didn’t deliver shadow briefings on winning WW2.
Biden has no role in making policy during the crisis because he hasn’t been elected to anything since 2012. By evacuating to Delaware, he moved far out of the Beltway and the actual government. He isn’t offering a briefing because he doesn’t know anything and can’t brief anyone on what he doesn’t know.
Instead he’s trolling actual elected officials from the Bidenbunker of his rec room to score political points. And, in a true embodiment of his entire career, he’s managed to somehow fail at doing that.
Maybe it’s because President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis is at 60% in a recent Gallup poll. Meanwhile a majority of the country has polled as disapproving of the media’s handling of the crisis.
With a lot of the country afraid, out of work, coping with shortages, and distancing from loved ones, there’s less patience for the media’s brand of toxic garbage. Most of the country wants to see politicians pull together to resolve the problem. And that’s very bad timing for the Bidenbunker routine to go live.
Nobody’s in the mood to see Biden moping around his cluttered rec room while criticizing Trump.
“I want to be in daily or at least significant contact with the American people and communicate what I would be doing, what I think we should be doing, and how we should be doing it,” Biden claimed.
Rambling sentences like this pop out of Biden’s mouth like spent kernels. And just as pointlessly.
Do the American people regularly need to hear what Biden would be doing if he weren’t in his bunker in Delaware, and if he were an elected official, and if any of the words leaving his mouth actually mattered.
Nothing Biden says actually matters. He isn’t in charge of anything and he isn’t being briefed by anyone.
When Biden contradicts President Trump or Governor DeSantis, he’s undermining actual elected officials whose decisions are informed by expert briefings from government officials, in the middle of a crisis.
Imagine a candidate trying to pull this routine during evacuation warnings about an imminent hurricane.
Opposition candidates usually offer their support during a crisis. Instead, Biden is trying to undermine President Trump, and Congress, at every turn, echoing MSNBC partisan talking points, and sabotaging relief efforts, in a desperate bid to keep his name in the news during a pandemic.
Joe Biden has the nomination sown up. He could easily take a break. Hang around his Wilmington mansion, phone up Hunter for some hot stock tips, and work some more on his V.P. pick. There’s still plenty of time until the election and voters are in no hurry to hear from Biden. They never were.
Giving President Trump the space to deal with the coronavirus, and succeed or fail on his own terms, instead of trying to impotently second guess him, would be the smarter move. It’s also what the country wants. What the country does not want are panicked broadcasts from the Bidenbunker thrift store.
If Joe Biden wants to have an impact on the coronavirus crisis, he has to leave the Bidenbunker.
The Biden clan is wealthy. And much of that money come through government access and foreign contacts. This would be a nice time to disgorge some of both and secure mask and ventilator supplies. The primaries are winding down leaving behind a huge activist base that could volunteer to help the elderly (not counting its 77-year-old presumptive nominee) or clean hospitals.
But these shadow briefings in which Biden addresses the nation from his Delaware Bidenbunker while offering no actual help with anything are inept trolling by a selfish politician and his incompetent campaign which can’t control his gaffes or even figure out basic audio and video equipment.
There’s nothing like a politician who can’t manage to successfully take part in a webcast, something much of the country that’s still at work is doing, claiming that he can save America from a pandemic.
The troll in the Bidenbunker has become a public health hazard.