Leaks from the White House suggest that Joe Biden is in a snit over his plummeting poll numbers, now that they’ve sunk below those of Donald Trump.
He is exasperated that he is not receiving credit for the great achievements of his administration and feels he is a victim of circumstances beyond his control: inflation, rising fuel prices, the border crisis, Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine, school shootings, COVID-19, and so on.
Oh, woe is him. So goes the spin.
Biden’s solution is to snarl at staff and demand better messaging. First lady Jill Biden and the president’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, are reported by Politico to be urging him to get out and about more. “Let Joe be Joe” is the thinking.
But isn’t that part of the problem? When Biden goes off script in front of a teleprompter, things go awry very quickly. He blurts out reckless thought bubbles, like when he said Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” or that the US would get involved militarily in Taiwan.
We want more of that?
The plan is to put the near-octogenarian president on the road to give him more opportunities to connect organically with people and talk up his accomplishments.
Perhaps in a sign that he is upping the tempo of his lethargic work output, Biden cut short his weekend sojourn at his Delaware beach house earlier than usual, returning to the White House Sunday rather than Monday morning.
But the subtext of the leaks of turmoil in the Oval points to one central grievance: Donald Trump.
The man whose legacy Biden has spent his entire presidency trying to erase just can’t be outstripped. It’s why Biden can’t mention his predecessor’s name, treating him more like Lord Voldemort than a former president.
He is “seething,” reports Politico, that his standing in the polls is now worse than that of Trump, “whom Biden routinely refers to in private as ‘the worst president’ in history and an existential threat to the nation’s democracy.”
What does that say about his own presidency?
Biden’s Trump derangement is “the greatest source of West Wing frustration, coming from behind the Resolute Desk.”
Well, no wonder. When you look at the polling comparison between Biden and Trump, there simply is no contest. There is not a single day in which Biden has done better than Trump in his second year in office.
Trump at the same point in his presidency in 2018 consistently outstripped Biden in voter approval by as much as 10 points, according to Rasmussen Polls. On June 6, 2018, Trump was at 49 percent, while Biden was at 41 percent.
The greatest gap came on April 2 this year, when Biden’s approval was at 40 percent while Trump’s was at 50 percent the same day in 2018, despite being in the middle of the Mueller probe into the Dems’ Russia collusion lie and facing a relentlessly hostile press.
Trump was eight points ahead of Biden at the beginning of their respective second year in office, and remained in the high 40s or low 50s to June 6, 2018, whereas Biden has been bottoming out in the high 30s, only once rising to a peak approval of 46 percent on Feb. 22. But on the same day, Trump still beat him by two points.
Trump’s peak approval between Jan. 1 and June 6, 2018, was 51 percent. Biden’s was 46 percent. Biden’s lowest point, reached over six days in January and March this year, was 36 percent. Trump never fell below 41 percent.
For a man consumed with being the anti-Trump, it is a bitter pill for Biden to be outclassed by the 45th president.
But if he is so worried about his poll numbers, rather than erasing Trump’s legacy or gaslighting voters about inflation, Biden could try cleaning up his own messes — the border crisis and oil and gas production, for starters.