Did Joe Biden fall asleep during the opening speeches of the COP26 climate jamboree in Glasgow? It’s hard to blame him if he did. A conference dedicated to saving the planet is generating nothing but hot air, some of it carboniferously heavy with the exhaust of the armada of private jets that brought the guests. But it’s Biden’s job to stay awake, look lively and remember his lines.
Biden appears to fall asleep during COP26 opening speeches pic.twitter.com/az8NZTWanI
— Zach Purser Brown (@zachjourno) November 1, 2021
The footage shows a frail man who’s jetlagged, pushing eighty and trying his best to absorb the torrent of heated eco-bilge that’s being pumped into his ears. But he’s only human. The presidential eyelids start to flutter as a speaker pleads “on behalf of everyone, disabled and non-disabled…to stop the destruction of this magnificent planet.” Biden gives a desperate, hostage-like look at the camera, but there’s no way out. The shutters are coming down. Soon, the president of the United States is heading down, down, down to the Land of Nod.
Yet again, the president’s feebleness is there for the world to see — or not. On Friday, Biden became the first American president in living memory not to go live before the cameras with the Pope. Was it because they’ve fallen out over abortion — or because Biden’s team didn’t want a jetlagged president to embarrass himself and his nation?
Meanwhile, “poopy pants Biden” trended on Twitter after Amy Tarkanian, the former chairwoman of the Republican party of Nevada, suggested that “the word around Rome” was that Biden’s private audience had to be extended because the president had suffered a “bathroom accident” in the pontiff’s presence.
These allegations cannot be substantiated without producing the presidential pants, but their tone shows how close Biden’s public appearances are to low comedy, and how quickly he has soiled his image in the American public’s estimation. He is underwater in the polls, his agenda is stalled in Congress, and when he does eventually appear in public, he blames everyone else.
The putative leader of the West is missing in inaction. On Sunday, after the G20 summit in Rome, the leaders of nineteen G20 states lined up for a photo at the Trevi Fountain. Only Joe Biden wasn’t there.
The president who talks about rebuilding alliances and boasts that America is “back” goes AWOL when it matters. In August, when it went south at Kabul airport, Biden had gone south to Delaware. Nobody expects Biden to leap into the Trevi Fountain like Marcello Mastroianni after Anita Ekberg, but he could at least have turned up. They do a mean ice cream there, and this president looks and sounds his best with a cone stuffed where he usually places his foot.
Biden, in one of those moments of articulacy that occasionally afflict him, has called the absence of China and Russia from the COP 26 summit “disappointing.” It’s more than that. The world’s leading polluters are showing they don’t care about the environmental apocalypse that so excites the Western left, just as China’s diplomats openly showed they don’t care about America’s opinion when they told off Biden’s State Department team in Alaska this year. The leaders of the West are exposed as weak, and incapable of leading even their own electorates.
The only thing worse than not showing up is showing up and making a fool of yourself and the system you represent. After not showing up in Rome, Biden has shown up in Glasgow — and shown up the sleepwalking debility of the American system. And that, to Americans and to the large part of the world that still hopes America might be some kind of ally or leader, is more than disappointing: it’s disastrous.
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