I have to admit, it is a little hard for me to give advice to Joe Biden, considering my GOP loyalties, but what the heck, I am going to give it a shot anyway.
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Clearly, President Biden is in a lot of hot water over somehow misplacing and bringing home what looks like an ever-expanding amount of classified documents home – and to various locations for some reason.
Joe Biden Has a Problem
I will make a wild guess and speculate that it was not Joe Biden himself taking these documents home and using them for some sort of evil reason.
Being Vice President of the United States means you aren’t exactly thinking about what documents you want to bring home for, say, a future book project (not using the classified info, but using them as some sort of point of reference) or something else. Staff essentially makes those calls.
None of that matters, anyway.
Joe Biden or Joe Biden’s staff made a mistake, and it is Joe Biden who will pay the political price in the months and maybe years to come.
While one Democrat I have known for years thinks Joe Biden should just resign, I think there is a way for the White House to get out in front of this and try to wind down the story before it consumes his presidency: apologize to the American people for this careless error.
But before Biden does that, he needs to make damn sure he has no more documents hanging around.
Issuing that apology and then going back to the American people and asking for more forgiveness would be a bad look for sure. This is a one-shot plan that can’t go badly.
I honestly think the Biden team’s strategy right now in trying to beat back this scandal is a mistake.
Joe Biden looks automated; reading from cards and stumbling through them looks just awful.
At times Biden looks angry, like he gets his hand caught in the cookie jar and won’t admit any wrongdoing.
In many respects, the strategy reminds me of something Donald Trump would do in a way – doubling down and not trying to apologize or showing any remorse.
Biden keeps saying things like “I am doing what the lawyers tell me to do” “I am cooperating fully with the Justice Department” than sounding quite angry and upset.
The smarter strategy here would be to make again sure the document drip is over and then appear before the American people, take the fall and ask for forgiveness.
We have all witnessed in American history time and time again the near-unlimited empathy our nation has for those who make mistakes. I think while it would be hard to do with 2024 around the corner, I think it’s the best option above all.
And as an added bonus, he would look a hell of a lot better than Donald Trump, who made a similar error and won’t admit anything.
Surely Joe Biden won’t look good doing it, but it could be the only thing that saves his presidency and run in 2024. I would give it a shot.
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About the author: Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. He served on the Russia task force for U.S. Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz and in a similar task force in the John Hay Initiative. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree in International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization. Kazianis also has a background in defense journalism, having served as Editor-In-Chief at The Diplomat and Executive Editor for the National Interest.