Opinion: Joe Biden, basement president

The strategy seems to be for him to remain as invisible as possible until he is called to write his signature on a bill he likely did not write or read a speech he almost certainly did not draft.

By David Keltz, American Spectator

At the Republican National Convention last August, as the TV cameras shifted to an aerial view of the dormant Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz stepped up to the microphone and delivered this noteworthy observation about the future president of the United States: “I’m speaking to you from an auditorium emptier than Joe Biden’s daily schedule.”

Little did we know at the time that the Manchurian candidate who campaigned almost exclusively from his basement, and frequently “called a lid” on his day around the time that most Americans begin their work day, now appears to be running the most powerful country in the world, mostly out of sight, from a predominantly vacant White House, with a daily schedule more open than our southern border under his new immigration policy.

Is anyone really surprised that the basement candidate has now become the basement president?

As Politico recently reported about Biden’s daily routine, “He has replaced in-person meetings with video calls. He allows only a limited number of people in the building — even staff that normally would have been in the West Wing are working from home or in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door. He doesn’t leave the White House often…. He isn’t planning any foreign or domestic trips for now. And until this week, when he invited senators of both parties to talk about Covid-19 recovery legislation, he was not asking visitors to the White House.”

Biden’s team is no doubt using COVID as an excuse to justify an administration that is cloaked in secrecy. But there has been no indication that much will change, even after COVID finally “goes away.”

The lack of transparency and restrictions that Biden has imposed on both politicians and citizens from entering “The People’s House” might make more sense if he were easing his way into the presidency, but his early tenure has been anything but slow-moving.

Biden has now signed nine Executive Actions solely on immigration. In total (at time of writing), he has implemented 45 Executive Actions and 28 Executive Orders (EOs) in barely two weeks. At this rate, he might surpass Barry Bonds’ single season home run record of 73 in his first month — or he might fall into a slump and set his sights on Roger Maris, the last legitimate home-run king, with 61 in a season.

This is not to suggest in any way that Biden has been an effective leader or that he is in control of the radical policy decisions that are being made on a regular basis. On the contrary, it is clear that Biden will do whatever he is told to do by his staff. Similarly to his campaign, the strategy seems to be for him to remain as invisible as possible until he is called to write his signature on a bill he likely did not write or read a speech he almost certainly did not draft.

As Team Biden protects the ever frail and gaffe-prone commander in chief, one wonders what exactly he is doing all day. According to a White House official who spoke to Politico, “Each day, Biden holds an intelligence briefing, receives a coronavirus update and reads a daily briefing book, which includes schedules, policy memos and intelligence briefs about the next day.”

‘Return to normalcy’

During his basement campaign, Biden attempted to sell the public on the idea that a vote for him meant a “return to normalcy.” Evidently “normalcy” means usurping Congress to impose his radical agenda on the American people from behind closed doors, while having more than 5,000 National Guard troops hovering around the confines of the White House and the U.S. Capitol to protect him from “domestic terrorists.”

According to Biden, “normalcy” means biological boys who no longer identify as such and wish to take up girls’ lacrosse should be able to do so. All who disagree with that decision and are concerned about the ramifications that it will have on biological girls who still identify as such are probably transphobic.

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According to Biden, “normalcy” means illegal immigrants from countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras who knowingly break our laws to enter our country should immediately be given a pathway to citizenship during a global health pandemic. All who disagree with that decision or wonder how that benefits unemployed American workers are probably racist or xenophobic.

And according to Biden, “normalcy” means those who work in the oil and gas industry and wish to keep their livelihoods or pay off their mortgage should learn to build solar panels, as John Kerry recently suggested. All who disagree with Biden’s new “climate czar,” or the man who flew his gas-emitting private jet to Iceland to accept a climate award in 2019, just don’t care about saving our planet and our children’s future.

Is the picture becoming clearer now? Biden’s promised vision of “unity” never involved the 74 million Americans who voted for former President Trump, and it almost certainly does not involve any Republican members of Congress. Early Friday morning, a budget resolution making way for Biden’s $1.9 trillion “coronavirus relief” bill was passed through the Senate without the support of a single Republican vote. Vice President Kamala Harris gleefully presided over the tiebreaking vote. The resolution, which was later approved by the House, also without a single GOP vote, is leading to the bill potentially being signed into law within the next month.

A friendly custodian?

Amid all these radical decrees, Biden seems to be running the White House as though he were a friendly custodian whose main job is to wander aimlessly around the mansion and catch up with his buddies. As Anita Kumar wrote in Politico,“Since he moved in two weeks ago, Joe Biden has taken to strolling around the White House. He’s popped into the press offices. He’s walked to the East Wing to visit the military office… And on the day the Senate confirmed his secretary of state, he stopped by the office of Antony Blinken’s wife, White House Cabinet Secretary Evan Ryan, to congratulate their family.” How thoughtful of him.

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Access to the Oval Office is heavily restricted: only Biden’s top aides have walk-in privileges. But certain people, or creatures, are simply too important to restrict. Politico reported that “Senior adviser Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, have Oval Office walk-in privileges. So do Biden’s dogs — one of the two German Shepherds, Major, visited him recently in the Oval Office, according to a White House official.” For the rest of us proletarians, or even for politicians who wish to negotiate legislation, good luck catching Biden anywhere.

Regardless of what one thought of Trump’s policies, no one with an ounce of intellectual honesty could argue that he was not a transparent president who did not make himself readily available. Unlike Biden, who rarely ever answers questions from reporters, Trump took questions virtually every single day. Even the Trump-hating CNN admitted, “His accessibility is unprecedented…. Trump’s willingness to take calls and engage is so well known on Capitol Hill that one former leadership aide told CNN that when rank-and-file members go to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to complain about something Trump’s engaged in, McConnell tells them to pick up the phone and just call the President themselves.”

What a difference from our new basement president. Perhaps no song better sums up Biden’s first two weeks as commander in chief than the Beatles tune: “Nowhere Man”:

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to.

David Keltz was a speechwriter in the Executive Branch and is the author of Media Bias in the Trump Presidency and the Extinction of the Conservative Millennial. He previously served as a White House Intern for Vice President Mike Pence.