Every new president deserves time to settle in but for President Joe Biden time is running out and the honeymoon is over, if there ever was one. The first eight months of his administration has been a horror show and it grows worse daily. Our southern border is a mess, posing a continuing humanitarian, health and security crisis. The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving some Americans and most Afghans who helped us behind, is a national embarrassment. It has emboldened our adversaries and caused our allies to question our resolve and ability to lead. A botched drone attack intended to target terrorists instead killed friendly civilians including seven children, justifying the existing doubt about our ability to deal with terrorists in Afghanistan from over the horizon without a robust presence on the ground.
In just eight months, the Biden Administration has demonstrated breathtaking incompetence of the sort that would cause most governments to fall because of lack of confidence in their ability to govern. The buck stops with the commander-in-chief, of course, and Biden must bear the bulk of the blame but there is still plenty to go around and some of it should be reserved for former president Donald Trump. “Why Trump?” you ask. Because he lost an election that he could have won against a weak and visibly aging establishment liberal who previously had twice failed in attempts to win the presidency and who ran an uninspiring, gaffe-filled campaign from his Delaware basement. As the incumbent who actually accomplished most of what he promised, Trump might have won if only he had disciplined himself to act more like a president and leader of the western world and controlled his impulse to reflexively tweet every thought that came into his mind. If he had won, we wouldn’t be dealing now with a weak and failing president of questionable competence.
The 2020 election was a golden opportunity for the GOP to retain not only the White House, but control of the Senate but Mr. Trump screwed that up as well with his heavy-handed involvement in the election for Georgia’s two Senate seats, insisting that that election was rigged along with the presidential election. Instead of conceding gracefully, he continued to damage his party by holding an incendiary rally in Washington, D.C. which prompted some supporters to storm the Capitol in a misguided attempt to interfere with the certification of the electoral college vote. He has continued to target those who supported his subsequent impeachment and those Republican candidates who dispute his claim that the election was stolen.
As readers know, I was never a Trump fan and urged the party to dump him during the campaign for the 2016 nomination. I felt that there were other Republicans better qualified for the most powerful elected office on earth. I didn’t vote for him in 2016 but I supported him against unrelenting Democrat attempts to delegitimize his election including baseless claims that his campaign colluded with the Russians. He deserves credit, in my view, for much of what he accomplished in his term including Operation Warp Speed which produced the Covid vaccines in record time. He also deserves credit for shaking up the political establishment whose candidates too often have delivered far less than they promised.
But that’s history now and Mr. Trump has become more of a burden than an asset to the GOP and thus an asset to the Democrats. He is the gift to the Democrats that keeps on giving and a favorite source of material for the mainstream media who just can’t seem to get enough of him. Democrats simply love to loathe him and focusing on his faults helps deflect attention from their own. He has become a toxic force within the GOP, the latest example being the failed attempt to recall California’s Gov. Gavin Newsome. Democrats successfully linked Trump to Fox contributor Larry Elder, the leading candidate among the dozens of wannabes on the ballot to succeed Newsome if he was recalled. In the solidly-blue Golden State, linking Elder to Trump was all it took for Mr. Newsome to easily survive the recall which was doomed from the start anyway. Californians wasted millions on a recall election just one year before the regular election.
With more than three years of Biden’s term remaining, the nation is facing a dangerous crisis of leadership. The Democrat party is moving further to the left and Mr. Biden seems to lack the strength, energy or will to do anything about it but to go with flow. It is imperative, in my view, that Republicans take back control of Congress in 2022 to provide needed checks and balances. But that effort will be hampered by growing divisions within the GOP pitting Trump supporters against those who want him to take up some other hobby besides politics. And if he decides to run again in 2024, it will doom the party’s chances to regain the White House. Losing an election he should have won makes him a loser, a term he was quick to apply to others.
Those GOP candidates who fear alienating Trump supporters need to get over it and Trump supporters need to come to grips with the fact that Trump lost re-election through his own fault, managing to lose to a weak candidate who ran a weak campaign. Mr. Trump’s failure gave us Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Antony Blinken, chaos on our southern border, a costly retreat from Afghanistan, damage to America’s credibility and failures of leadership too numerous to list in this space. It’s time to find a new party leader who understands what it takes to lead and unite.