Trump could learn a few things from Biden
Whether you love or loathe Biden, his strategy has been paying off so far. In fact, it has kept Americans focused less on drama and gaffes and more on his policy agenda. Despite this, many are already speculating whether or not former President Donald Trump will mount another presidential bid. Trump, who seems entirely incapable of eschewing the spotlight, appears to be reveling in the attention and has been dropping hints about his potential candidacy too.
He is mulling a series of rallies—ostensibly in support of like-minded candidates—but the events would certainly work to keep him relevant in politics. And in a recent interview, when asked about another presidential bid, he responded, “As you know, it’s very early, but I think people are going to be very, very happy when I make a certain announcement.”
I am not sure what people he is referring to, but I’d bet that many of my readers shudder at the thought of another Trump presidency, while others are chomping at the bit for a second term. However, he would face an uphill battle, considering his recent electoral rebuke, but if Trump were to eye a comeback and succeeded, he would become a modern-day Grover Cleveland—the only U.S. President to serve two nonconsecutive terms. Whether or not Trump succeeds, he can learn a few things from Biden.
In the lead up to the November elections, The Guardian questioned whether Biden was “too gaffe-prone to be president.” After all, he has a history of some head-scratching behavior and statements. He has a strange knack for sniffing people’s hair, and while vice president, he was known to give ill-conceived advice, including “[if] you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” With respect to the president, that sounds like a bad idea. On the campaign trail in 2019, he bit his wife’s finger (jokingly, I believe) as she spoke to a crowd, and he also told a cringeworthy story about children playing with his leg hair.
This is just a small sampling of his awkward blunders, but all of this to say, many Americans expected him to have a gaffe-filled—albeit somewhat entertaining—term as president. Biden has more than three years to go, but thus far, he’s largely kept such embarrassments to a minimum, which seems planned.
Indeed, his remarks rarely seem off the cuff; he doesn’t fire off late night strings of tweets as a stream of consciousness like his presidential predecessor; and in a departure from tradition, for a shocking seven weeks, Biden chose not to participate in a formal press conference, in which he took questions from the press corps. “[This] may be a sign that Joe Biden has empowered his communications staff and several disciplined spokespeople to deliver his messages for him,” the Brookings Institution opined. This would be a wise move, given that an increased reliance on polished surrogates would reduce the frequency of awkward missteps.
Moreover, Biden has surrounded himself with a trusted and loyal inner circle with whom he has worked with for decades, and they’ve instituted a disciplined approach to running the White House. “One hundred days into the Biden administration,” Politico pointed out, “the White House is a tight ship defined by insularity, internal power centers and top down micromanagement.” The results so far speak for themselves. Information leaks and drama have been limited, which by most accounts is good for America.
This stands in stark contrast with the Trump administration. From the earliest days of Trump’s term, his White House was in turmoil. Trump and his advisors clashed with one another publicly; people from his inner circle repeatedly leaked information to the media; and Trump was essentially a walking, anthropomorphized gaffe.
At one point, he tweeted, “Despite the negative press covfefe,” and his allies tried in vain to defend the tweet as meaningful. What’s more, Trump confused 9/11 with 7/11 when discussing the 2001 terrorist attacks, frequently resorted to childish name-calling, and he made plenty of statements regarding immigrants and women that certainly hurt his popularity.
Given Trump’s proclivity for delivering inadvisable remarks and that he presided over a tumultuous White House, a greater reliance on surrogates and loyal advisors would only have aided him. The bottom line is if Trump wants another shot at the presidency and perhaps a fruitful second term, then he would benefit from adopting Biden’s approach.