Any discussion of Joe Biden’s 2024 election strategy would be incomplete without examining the context of Biden’s threat to stop Donald Trump from “taking power” after the 2024 election. Just what did he mean by that?
Recall that on November 9, 2022, shortly after the Democrats’ surprising showing in the midterm elections, Biden was speaking at a press conference in the state dining room at the White House. There he made the infamous pledge to stop Trump in response to a sympathetic journalist asking about the concerns of foreign leaders over a second Trump term.
What I find is that they [leaders in other countries] want to know that the United States is stable . . . are we the same democracy we’ve always been. Because . . . the rest of the world looks to us . . . if the United States tomorrow were to ‘withdraw from the world,’ a lot of things would change around the world. A whole lot would change. And so they’re very concerned that we are still the open democracy that we have been and that we have rules and that the institutions matter and that’s the context in which I think that they’re looking at . . . are we back to a place where we’re going to accept decisions made by the Court, by the Congress, by the government, etc.
The reporter prompted Biden again, “Sir, the entire genesis of that G7 conversation was tied to your predecessor [President Donald Trump] who is about to launch another campaign. So how do you reassure them [leaders of the other G7 countries] if that is the reason for their questioning that the former president will not return, that his political movement, which is still very strong, will not once again take power in the United States.” Biden started laughing when the reporter described the opposition political movement as, “strong.”
“Well, uh,” Biden finished a chuckle and transitioned to a serious look, “We just have to demonstrate that he will not take power by, if he does run, making sure that he, under the legitimate efforts of our Constitution, does not become the next president again.”
Tellingly, not one reporter asked Biden what he meant by, “legitimate efforts of our Constitution” and how these efforts would, “demonstrate that [Trump] will not take power.” Silence followed for about two heartbeats after this pledge until Biden called for the next question from the list of reporters.
Much like Biden’s infamous prediction about the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, the “he will not take power” remark appears to have revealed a deliberate plan. One could conclude that Joe Biden timed last week’s federal indictment of Trump to function as candidate Biden’s very first campaign event since officially announcing his candidacy for reelection. As it happened, the indictment dropped shortly after Biden’s presidential announcement but just before his first public campaign rally.
Naturally, partisans, posing as fact checkers, have attempted to bury this clip.
Factcheck.org wrote, “As we said, the clip doesn’t show that Biden ‘all but confirmed’ his team is coordinating the various investigations facing Trump.” Newsweek’s fact checker wrote, “No matter the interpretation, the clip alone does not provide enough material to suggest that Biden was talking about either this indictment or the prospect of others. It could refer to the January 6 investigation, other legal challenges or other avenues, such as elections, that would prevent Trump from entering the White House.”
How absurd! The indictment resolved whatever ambiguity might have existed in November when Biden promised to “demonstrate” Trump will not be allowed to take power if he runs again.
But the full context of the clip is actually even more chilling than the selectively edited excerpt. The question came up in the context of foreign interests expressing concern over U.S. foreign policy and how that policy might be changed by a re-elected President Trump. Biden says that Trump’s America-first policy, which Biden characterizes as a “withdrawal from the world,” would change “a lot of things . . . around the world.” Biden also said he wants America to get back to a place where “we have rules and that the institutions matter and that’s the context in which I think that they’re looking at . . . are we back to a place where we’re going to accept decisions made by the Court, by Congress, by the government, etc.”
What constitutes these institutions and this “government” Biden mentions? What if the voters don’t want to respect them or accept their decisions? Aren’t policy questions things voters are allowed to challenge through elections? What does it say about Biden that he would reassure foreign leaders that his chief political rival can’t change American foreign policy because Biden has plans to stop him from taking power?
It says a lot about who Biden seems to perceive as his real constituency and the real sovereign in America.
I’m hardly paraphrasing. Because that’s the context of the exchange. Watch the clip above and judge for yourself whether I’m misrepresenting the context. Biden said he planned to use “constitutional” means. Was Biden referring to the prosecutorial powers the Constitution gives to the executive branch? It’s pretty hard to rule out that interpretation, especially when that’s exactly what happened a few months later.
One is reminded of the historical example of Matthew Lyon, a Revolutionary War veteran who served as a colonel with the Green Mountain Boys and one of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence. Lyon won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1796. But in 1798, the Adams Administration charged him with the crime of, “acting in opposition to the President.” Lyon was convicted and sentenced to prison with a huge fine of $1,000 (at a time when a typical worker made less than $1 per day). Lyon won a landslide victory from prison and returned to Congress when he completed his sentence.
The prosecution of Donald Trump for alleged mishandling of classified documents is clearly part of a greater election strategy in 2024. So many prominent officials, particularly Democrats, have escaped any charges for similar behavior that the political selectivity of the charges is totally inescapable. Biden himself is currently “under investigation” for mishandling classified documents (essentially the same charge) by Robert Hur, a prosecutor who worked closely with Russia collusion hoax purveyors FBI Director Christopher Wray and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Has anyone else noticed a distinct lack of movement in the Biden “investigations?”
Trump may indeed find himself in jail as a result of this or other get-Trump efforts. But that won’t stop him from running for president or even winning. And why should it? Just because a bunch of world leaders in the G7 group don’t like Trump’s foreign policy doesn’t mean he won’t be on the ballot. Remember when Biden fantasized about being arrested during the civil rights movement? Obviously, Biden was never arrested as a political activist but it reminds us that political arrests sometimes backfire by making a martyr of the target.
Perhaps the Left dreams of an October 2024 presidential debate in which Donald Trump must join by videolink in a prison jumpsuit. The Justice Department could easily manipulate the situation to achieve this visual. But it probably wouldn’t go down the way they imagine it.
Trump would use the moment to label Biden a tyrannical dictator who must rely on his Justice Department to kneecap legitimate democratic opposition. Trump can, and will, point out that Biden lied about the laptop being Russian disinformation and that his henchman Merrick Garland protected Biden from legitimate investigations. Trump could easily point to a hundred examples of the Justice Department applying different legal standards to its political allies than it imposes on its political opposition.
Trump’s prison uniform would visually reinforce these points. He would wear the uniform as a badge of honor. Rather than making Trump look like a criminal, the scene could as easily make him a folk hero standing up to a cowardly bully.
Biden’s other major campaign strategy is to box-out Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a very serious primary challenger. Just as Biden seems afraid to let Trump run against him, Biden has already refused to participate in any primary debates with Kennedy. It’s not hard to see why. Kennedy will confront Biden on his authoritarian tendencies with the kind of well-articulated examples that turn voters’ heads back to Biden with the expectation that he actually answers the charges. Biden doesn’t have any good answers so he won’t debate. It’s that simple. It’s just so grating to listen to “democracy” or “rule of law” lectures from Biden.
It’s a mistake to mock Biden because of his age or apparent mental incapacity. Biden has been a highly consequential president who rapidly and dramatically changed the policy direction of the United States. He’s not a harmless old man muttering and shuffling around on stage. He plays the hardest of hardball with his political opponents to achieve transformative objectives. We’ve had enough of cheap shots about Biden’s alleged harmlessness. It didn’t work in 2020 and it won’t work in 2024.