Deception and Failure

White House physician Kevin O’Connor recently proclaimed that Joe Biden “remains a healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.” The Delaware Democrat quickly raised doubts by stumbling up the stairs of an aircraft, a feat he once performed three times on a single ascent. 

Dr. O’Connor failed to reveal how Biden’s mental competence test had turned out, or even if he had taken one. As on the fitness side, the evidence is already out there. 

Joe Biden is sometimes unaware of his own location and mounts a public search for people who recently died, such as Rep. Jackie Walorski. Biden is also famous for spouting gibberish beyond any comprehension, such as here, here, and here, to cite only a few. 

For all but the willfully blind, Joe Biden is not mentally and physically fit to exercise the duties of the presidency. To be fair, the Delaware Democrat is not the only White House occupant ever to be in such a condition. Consider, for example, Woodrow Wilson. 

In April of 1919, in Paris, Wilson had his first stroke and “it was concealed,” from the public, as the late Paul Johnson noted in A History of the American People. That year, Wilson launched a speaking tour and on September 25 suffered a second stroke. On October 10, a third stroke left the president’s  entire left side paralyzed. 

Physician Gary Grayson said Wilson was “permanently ill physically, is gradually weakening mentally, and can’t recover,” but refused to declare the president incompetent. Vice President Thomas Marshall declined to challenge Wilson’s ability to perform his duties, and Wilson’s second wife Edith stood guard, Johnson writes, “like a Valkyrie.”  

Edith wrote instructions about appointments and forged Wilson’s signature on bills, prompting Sen. Albert Fall to proclaim, “Mrs. Wilson is president.” When Fall told Wilson people were praying for him, Wilson asked “which way?” As Johnson notes, that was taken as a declaration of mental sharpness. So the farce continued, and “the great Wilson presidency ended in deception and failure.” So did the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 

In 1921, FDR was stricken with polio and was “anxious that press should not know how severely paralyzed he had become,” as Hugh Gregory Gallagher explained in FDRs Splendid Deception: The moving story of Roosevelt’s massive disability and the intense efforts to conceal it from the public, published in 1985. At that time, a full 40 years after Roosevelt’s death, most Americans believed the four-term president had been fully able-bodied. He wasn’t. 

Back in the day, FDR’s close associate Louis Howe “constantly misled reporters” and worked out “a scheme to transfer Roosevelt without reporters discovering just how ill he really was.” FDR made it a rule that photographers were not to take pictures of him looking helpless, and the press went along. A fall from a podium in 1932 failed to turn up in news reports, and no photographs were taken. Once in the White House, Gallagher notes, FDR imposed rules, “which were always obeyed.” 

The Secret Service “built ramps for his use at every point. These were not simply ramps for the president’s chair; upon occasion, the Secret Service would actually raise the entire level of a street to the level of the building entrance by means of temporary but extensive wooden trestles and scaffolding.” These extensive measures allowed FDR to appear to “walk” from his car into a building without undue effort. Despite the massive efforts, things did not always go as planned. 

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During the 1944 campaign in New York City, Roosevelt rode in an open car for more than four hours and was “seen by millions, looked cheerful, animated, conversing, waving, throwing his head back with that famous contagious laugh. . . . It seemed evident to all that day in New York that he was as strong, as resilient as ever.” The press and the public had no clue what was happening behind the scenes. 

“At points along the parade route the Secret Service had commandeered garage space,” Gallagher recalled. “As the presidential cavalcade passed the garage, the president’s car was turned out of the parade into the warmth of the heated building. Secret Service agents quickly lifted the president from the car and stretched him out full length on blankets laid on the floor. They removed his clothes down to the skin. He was toweled dry and given a rubdown. He was redressed in dry clothes, brandy was poured down his throat, and he was lifted back into the car. The pit stop was quickly done and the president was soon back in the cavalcade.”

FDR won reelection, but after his inauguration speech on January 20, 1945, “he never stood on braces or walked again.” Two days later, FDR departed for Yalta, where it would become clear that the president’s disability was not merely physical. For Gallagher, an admirer who approved of the president’s deception, “the man who seemed so little crippled by his handicap was, in fact, severely emotionally crippled.” And as his paralysis progressed, so did the inevitable mental incompetence. 

As World War II played out, FDR showed “a curious indecision” and “distinct difficulty in organizing his thoughts.” He would stare into space, slack-jawed, and took no briefings. During 16 months of decline, “only a very few persons on his immediate staff were aware of how marked it had become.” 

As his condition worsened, FDR outsourced foreign policy to pro-Stalin advisor Harry Hopkins, who lived at the White House. Under Hopkins, the policy was to give Stalin everything he wanted, asking nothing in return, in the hope that all would turn out well. It didn’t. 

Stalin kept control of Eastern Europe, so the Soviet dictator acquired more territory than under the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939. On the home front, FDR bloated the federal bureaucracy to gargantuan dimensions. So historians can be forgiven for thinking that FDR’s presidency, like Wilson’s, ended in deception and failure. That prompts serious questions about the current White House occupant.  

In 2020, Biden said he hadn’t taken a cognitive test, and scoffed at the suggestion he needed one.  In September of 2022, Dr. Nicole Saphier, a professor at Cornell medical school, noted Biden’s lapses and wrote, “It is not indecent to ask for full transparency of physical and cognitive fitness of our political leaders, and called for Biden to take a cognitive test at his next physical. If he did, the results were not released. 

Woodrow Wilson had Edith and FDR his Harry Hopkins. For his part, Joe Biden is the hapless puppet of a politburo on the far reaches of the Left. Consider Biden’s nominee for comptroller of the currency in the U.S. Treasury Department.

Saule Omarova, a native of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, attended Moscow State University on a Lenin Scholarship and remains an apologist for the Soviet Union.  The former Komsomol promoted a centralization of American banking based on the Soviet model. 

Omarova also wanted to take economic and climate policy away from Congress and create an unaccountable bureaucracy called the National Investment Authority. Based on her record, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) could think of nobody “more poorly suited to be the Comptroller of the Currency,” than the Moscow State alum. 

As a presidential candidate, Biden had to walk back his previous position on criminal justice. It’s now hard to find any domestic issues where Biden differs in substance from the woke agenda of his handlers. The Delaware Democrat also displays deference to powerful foreign adversaries.

As a presidential candidate in 2019, Biden said the Chinese are “not bad folks” and not even competition for the USA. In 2023 Biden let China fly a surveillance balloon over most of the country, including strategic military bases, before finally shooting it down. 

Without a mental test, the White House proclaims Joe Biden healthy, vigorous and fit to “successfully” execute the duties of the presidency. In effect, this is a proclamation that the Delaware Democrat has been an unqualified success. From the open border all the way to the gas pumps and grocery shelves, embattled Americans know it isn’t so. 

Call it the Pangloss presidency, an ongoing disaster proclaimed to be the best of all possible worlds. And for all but the willfully blind, a Pétain presidency is also going on in the United States of America. 

In Conrad Black’s phrase, Joe Biden is a waxworks effigy of a president, physically and mentally unfit for duty. This deception is not splendid and the failure already evident. The aftermath will likely be much worse than anything that took place in the wake of  Woodrow Wilson or FDR. 

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

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