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Biden Warns SCOTUS Ruling Will ‘Embolden’ Trump



Like It or Not, 2024 Is the Year of Trump

President Biden had not yet returned from Camp David when the White House suddenly amended his schedule late Monday to include remarks ostensibly about the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling. His words, even on such a weighty constitutional question, may matter less than how he delivered them.

Biden delivers a warning – then takes no questions

The reason: The mental acuity of the president is now in question. Biden spoke for just under five minutes Monday evening. He did not cough or stumble, and his voice was strong compared to his halting performance at the debate last week. But he was reading from a teleprompter and took no questions from reporters.

After more than three years in office, and that troubling, confusing debate performance, Biden now struggles to convince the nation that he has the faculties and fitness necessary to remain the nation’s commander in chief. It is an open question, one that even some Democrats are now asking publicly.

“No one is above the law, not even the president of the United States,” Biden said from the Cross Hall at the White House, taking the opportunity to turn attention away from himself and toward the Supreme Court and his current rival, former President Donald Trump. The decision from the high court, he continued, “almost certainly means that there are no limits on what the president can do.”

How the Supreme Court ruled – and how Democrats said they ruled

The Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that presidents have broad immunity from prosecution while acting in their official capacity, but by the time Biden addressed the cameras, the Democrats’ position was already well-known. Cedric Richmond, co-chairman of the Biden-Harris campaign, said that the justices appointed by Trump had “empowered the Supreme Court to abandon the founding ideals of our nation and dissolve our democracy as we know it.” New York Rep. Dan Goldman, a Biden campaign surrogate, told reporters during a press call that the high court had handed Trump “a get-out-of-jail card.”


The practical effect of the decision, Goldman acknowledged, was that Trump is now unlikely to stand trial before the next election on charges of seeking to overturn the previous one.

Biden acknowledged that reality during his remarks, saying that the trial of his political opponent, and answers about what occurred on Jan. 6, would not come before Election Day. He called it “a terrible disservice to the people in this nation.” The president then made a campaign pitch: “The American people must decide if they want to entrust the president, once again, the presidency, to Donald Trump, now knowing that he will be more emboldened to do whatever he pleases, whatever he wants to do.”

Biden needs a reset

Biden is desperate for a reset after the debate as some Democratic donors openly search for an alternative to replace him atop the ticket. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama circled the wagons last Friday and attempted to frame Biden’s performance as just a bad night, not cause for a dramatic storyline ripped from the pages of the show “The West Wing.”

Not everyone is convinced, including Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who told a local television reporter that he was looking for reassurances “that the president and his team are being candid with us about his condition, that this was a real anomaly, and not just the way he is these days.”

Whitehouse is the chairman of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, making his uncertainty about the condition of the president notable. His office did not respond by press time to RealClearPolitics’ questions about the last time the senator spoke with Biden.


The administration has batted back accusations that Biden’s age is showing. They dismissed videos of the president looking lost as disinformation, or what White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called “cheap-fakes.” They similarly criticized Special Counsel Robert Hur’s characterization of the president, that Biden was “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” as inaccurate, gratuitous, and unnecessary. The many rebuttals may be losing their staying power.

No more excuses

Jake Tapper, one of the two CNN moderators who questioned Biden and Trump in last week’s debate, wasn’t buying the excuses anymore. When Delaware Sen. Chris Coons told Tapper that “everybody has a bad night,” the veteran newsman begged to differ.

“So, with all due respect, it is not honest to say that this is just one night,” Tapper replied, bringing up that “another moment like this, not just a senior losing a train of thought, but something else going on here.” He rolled tape of Biden attempting to introduce Department of Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas from last month. At those remarks, Biden made an indiscernible, guttural noise.

Tapper called it “some sort of glitch” and said, “I don’t know what that was.” Replied Coons, “That doesn’t trouble me at all.” The senator added that verbal gaffes are common for anyone who regularly speaks on television, then pivoted to the fact that some in Trump’s previous administration have said the former president is “not morally fit to be president” and have “refused to support him.”

Biden’s hidin’

The White House has refused to make Biden publicly available, even for softball sit-downs like the traditional interview before the Super Bowl. He has given fewer interviews and press conferences than any other president in modern American history. Tapper told Coons that to dispel the doubts about his health, Biden ought to hold forth in the briefing room at the White House for a real press conference. The senator replied that he is “urging” the administration to do exactly that.


Biden’s brief appearance Monday was the opposite of what Tapper prescribed. There is still no indication that a presidential press conference is imminent. Officials close to the president, meanwhile, insist everything is fine.

“The Acela class Twitterati needs to buy some diapers and get a f*cking grip,” a Biden White House alumni told RCP after the debate, insisting “there is a lot of game left.” And it is true: Biden has been eulogized prematurely before in the press only to come back victorious. Bad debates happen, another White House official added. “There were a million bad debate headlines in 2019,” they said, noting the coverage of the previous Democratic presidential primary. “I am worried about the memory faculties of the chatterers,” they added. “Maybe they should take cognitive exams.”

Quoting the least temperate Justice

Reading from the teleprompter Monday night, the president was sharp enough to make his point.

“I concur with Justice Sotomayor’s dissent today. Here is what she said: ‘In every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law. With fear for our democracy, I dissent.’ End quote,” Biden said. “And so should the American people dissent. I dissent.”

“May God bless you all. May God help preserve our democracy,” he concluded before walking slowly away.


This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

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White House Correspondent at | Website | + posts

Philip Wegmann is White House Correspondent for Real Clear Politics. He previously wrote for The Washington Examiner and has done investigative reporting on congressional corruption and institutional malfeasance.

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