President Joe Biden delivered one of the worst and most widely condemned speeches of his presidency earlier this week in Georgia while lobbying for a federal takeover of elections. He asserted that Americans who do not support the Democrats’ bill are “domestic enemies” who stand on the side of segregationist George Wallace.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the unifier-in-chief on Wednesday by asserting that Biden’s foes had nothing to say about former President Donald Trump’s controversial use of language.
“I know there have been a lot of claims of the offensive nature of the speech yesterday, which is hilarious on many levels, given how many people sat silently over the last four years for the former president,” Psaki argued.
Psaki’s attempt at whataboutism misses why Biden’s speech was so objectionable.
Yes, Trump had an itchy Twitter finger, but his attacks were were on politicians, celebrities, and corrupt institutions — i.e. the elites. Biden’s offense is that he, as the commander-in-chief, punches down on the citizenry. His hate flows directly to the American voter.
The examples are endless. Biden constantly refers to the Covid pandemic as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and darkly warned unvaccinated Americans that they would be facing a “winter of severe illness and death.” He accused Kyle Rittenhouse, a Wisconsin teenager who exercised his God-given right to self defense, of white nationalism. His DOJ created a “threat tag” to track parents who speak out at school board meetings. He subverts the will of voters by baselessly suing states that enact legislation he disagrees with, like Georgia and Texas. His officials mock the concerns of Americans about gas prices and the supply chain crisis, using phrases like “the tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed” and “high-class problem.” And Biden never had a problem attacking the populace right to their faces; who could forget when he called an Iowa farmer a “damn liar” or said a union employee was “full of shit”?
Polling bears out the idea that Biden, despite his calls for “unity,” is more divisive than Trump. After his first 100 days in office, 94 percent of Democrats approved of Biden’s performance, and just 11 percent of Republicans did. Trump, at the same point in his presidency, had the approval of 84 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats. Biden’s most recent Quinnipiac approval rating was just 33 percent. Trump’s at this stage was 36 percent.
It’s quite simple, really. Voters don’t like it when you insult them. Hillary Clinton learned this the hard way when she referred to Trump supporters as “deplorables.” President Barack Obama’s biggest rhetorical folly was referring to evangelical voters as “bitter clingers” to guns and religion.
Psaki is paid to defend her boss. Maybe next time she can come up with something better than “yeah, well, the other guy was worse,” especially when it’s just not true.
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