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Are Democrats Turning on Joe Biden?

Joe Biden. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
US President Joe Biden.

Joe Biden’s Classified Documents Problems Have Democrats Upset: Ever since the story broke about President Joe Biden’s classified documents problems, in which numerous files were found in homes and offices used by the president, many differences have been pointed out between Biden’s documents case and that of former President Trump, both of which are being investigated by special counsels

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Democrats are Upset with Biden 

Trump has cooperated much less than Biden has with the investigations, and is therefore facing potential obstruction charges in addition to the underlying documents issues. And the number of documents at issue is much larger in Trump’s case. 

Another difference? Elected officials in Biden’s own party appear more willing to criticize their own guy than do Republicans. 

The Hill reported on Monday that Democrats have “expressed alarm” over the classified documents issue. 

“I’m very concerned,” Sen Jon Tester (D-MT) told the publication. “We have to get to the bottom of it to find out what the hell happened, why it happened.”

“This is about national security,” Tester added, suggesting that “it put our national security at risk.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also criticized the president of his own party, calling The Hill that the president’s handling of the documents was  “unbelievable” and “totally irresponsible.”

He added that Biden’s claim that “there’s no there there” — a reference to a famous statement by Gertrude Stein — with “that’s just not a good statement.”

Manchin and Tester, both up for re-election in 2024, are closer to the right flank of the Democratic caucus in the Senate.

But Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is not typically critical of Biden, said over the weekend that the controversy  “diminishes”  Biden, and that he believes the president is  “embarrassed by the situation.”

“They were not careful in handling classified documents,” Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, said, per The Hill.“When I think of how we deal with them in the Capitol in comparison, whoever was responsible for it didn’t follow the basic rules.” However, he would not speculate whether the president committed a crime. 

Another Democratic senator, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who holds Biden’s old Senate seat and is a longtime ally, was more positive about Biden. 

“I suspect there’s a lot of senior or former elected officials now doing a fairly thorough search of the documents they have, in their homes, or in storage, or in their institutes,” Coons said on ABC News this weekend, per Axios. 

“I think the fallout is right now,” Coons said on television. “We’re talking about this instead of President Biden’s leadership on confronting Russian aggression in Ukraine or talking about something I do think is on people’s minds — the potential of a debt ceiling fight and a default. The political fallout is it’s going to take focus and attention.”

Joe Biden and the Polls

What does the general public think about the documents issue? A new ABC News/Ipsos Poll concluded that majorities believe the issue is bad for both Trump and Biden, but that they view Trump’s potential wrongdoing as more serious. But there are huge partisan differences in the responses to both questions. 

According to the poll, “large majorities of Americans believe that both Donald Trump (77%) and Joe Biden (64%) acted inappropriately in how they handled classified documents after leaving office. However, when asked which was more serious, a plurality (43%) said Trump’s actions were a more serious concern.” 

“The White House maintains that aides immediately contacted the Archives upon learning of the Biden documents and are cooperating fully with the Department of Justice,” ABC News said of the situation. “Trump, on the other hand, faces allegations from the DOJ of obstruction of justice, after his team allegedly left out key details and made multiple unfounded or false claims with investigators during initial efforts to retrieve classified documents stored in his Mar-a-Lago home.”

There will likely be no decisions on any charges for some time; the counsel in Biden’s case has not yet started. 

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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.