‘Decency and dignity’: Multiple carefully crafted Biden narratives fall apart as 2024 race heats up

2020 candidate Joe Biden sold himself to the fatigued American public as an empathetic, ice-cream-loving grandpa who was going to usher decency and expertise into the White House — but those carefully crafted narratives that helped propel him to the Oval Office are crumbling as the country barrels toward the 2024 election in a time of economic and global instability. On the 2020 campaign trail, Biden and the media consistently billed him as the candidate to unify the country after four years under former President Donald Trump, who critics blasted as “divisive.” After his election win, Biden declared in a speech that it is “time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again.”  Biden took it one step further after he took office, threatening to fire anyone who didn’t share his views on decency and respect, telling nearly a thousand federal appointees and staff: “I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot.” But Biden’s inconsistency between his actions and his words are coming more to the forefront ahead of what is expected to be an explosive 2024 presidential election.  TIMELINE OF BIDEN ADVISER’S COMMUNICATIONS WITH HUNTER, MEETINGS WITH VP ABOUT BURISMA RAISES QUESTIONS The president’s son, Hunter Biden, settled his child support case in Arkansas in June, ending a years-long paternity dispute over his 4-year-old daughter, Navy Joan Roberts, whom both Biden and first lady Jill Biden refuse to acknowledge as their seventh grandchild. The New York Times released a damning report last week claiming Biden’s aides have been told to say publicly that he only has six grandchildren. The report said the family dispute is rooted in “money, corrosive politics and what it means to have the Biden birthright.” On Thursday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked specifically about the report and whether the president considers Roberts his granddaughter, to which she responded, “I don’t have anything to share from here.” In April, Biden listed six of his grandchildren by name during a “take your child to work day” event at the White House. “I have six grandchildren, and I’m crazy about them. And I speak to them every single day. Not a joke,” he said at the time. Biden has also put up Christmas stockings at the White House for six of the grandchildren, but has repeatedly left his seventh grandchild out of the annual tradition. But as Biden seeks re-election in 2024 and as the speculation into Hunter’s foreign business dealings ramps up, the president has decided to more publicly embrace his son, Hunter, and grandson, Beau, recently bringing them to Camp David two weekends in a row. CNN anchor Dana Bash said Monday that it’s “disturbing on so many levels” that Republicans are “using” the Roberts story to criticize Biden, but she acknowledged they’re “able to do that” because of “the brand and the kind of person that we all know and believe Joe Biden to be, because it’s who he says he is, and it’s somebody who is a family man. That’s who we see all of the time.” Upon taking office, Biden promised to restore the American story of “decency and dignity” and threatened to fire any staffer who didn’t share that view. However, a new report suggests that the 80-year-old president is prone to yelling at aides behind closed doors and roping them in for “angry interrogations.” Hidden from public view, Biden allegedly has such a “quick-trigger temper” that some White House aides try to avoid meeting him one-on-one, Axios reported Monday. Biden’s dressing-down of staff often includes profane condemnation, including phrases such as “God dammit, how the f— don’t you know this?!,” “Don’t f—ing bulls— me!” and “Get the f— out of here!” Speaking with Axios, former Biden campaign and Senate Aide Jeff Connaughton said Biden “hides his sharper edge to promote his folksy Uncle Joe image — which is why, when flashes of anger break through, it seems so out of public character.” BIDEN SLAMMED AFTER REPORT REVEALS NUMBER OF GRANDCHILDREN HIS AIDES INSTRUCTED TO SAY PUBLICLY: ‘MONSTERS’ Biden, who is often asked softball questions from sympathetic members of the press, also has a history of responding with anger or sarcasm when faced with tougher questions.  In late June, the president berated a reporter who asked if the president was involved in his son Hunter Biden’s business negotiations with a Chinese company. He also called NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell a “pain in the neck” in the Oval Office for a question about a vaccine mandate for Veterans Affairs and once called Fox News’ Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a b—-.” “Read the polls, Jack. You guys are all the same,” Biden said in 2022 when asked by a reporter what he would say to Democrats who didn’t want him to run for a second term. In 2021, Biden scolded CNN’s Kaitlan Collins when she suggested he was confident Russian President Vladimir Putin may change his malign behavior, asking her, “What in the hell, what do you do all the time?” BIDEN’S HISTORY OF BERATING, SCOLDING AND INSULTING REPORTERS, FROM ‘STUPID SON OF A B—-’ TO ‘GET EDUCATED’ President Biden has repeatedly insisted he had no knowledge of son Hunter’s business dealings, but multiple Fox News Digital analyses show that narrative is becoming more difficult to maintain.  “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” Biden scolded Doocy as he jabbed his finger in his face on the campaign trail in Iowa in 2019. “You should be looking at Trump. Trump’s doing this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum. … Everybody’s looked at it and said there’s nothing there. Ask the right question.” “I don’t discuss business with my son,” Biden said again a month later in October 2019. But records show Biden met with more than a dozen of Hunter’s business associates, and some of those associates and top staffers at Hunter’s now-defunct company Rosemont Seneca Partners visited the White House more than 90 times when Biden was vice president in the Obama administration. Further, nearly a dozen current and former officials serving in the White House and Biden administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, have extensive ties to Hunter. Hunter, who is accused by Republicans of selling access to his father, dating back over a decade, is expected to make his first court appearance for a tentative probation-only plea agreement on July 26 for two alleged misdemeanor tax violations and a felony gun charge. Biden has repeatedly said his son did “nothing wrong” and that he will continue to support him. U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware David Weiss, who led the investigation, is facing demands from Republicans probing alleged improper retaliation against whistleblowers who claimed the probe was “influenced by politics” and that Weiss was “hamstrung” when making prosecutorial decisions, which Weiss has denied. “America is back. Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy,” Biden promised allies shortly after his inauguration. Biden promoted himself as a seasoned foreign policy expert who was going to restore diplomacy on the world stage, but his administration has seen increased aggression by foreign adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. The Biden administration’s series of missteps during the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal in August 2021, which led to the death of 13 U.S. service members, marked a political turning point for the public’s perception of the president’s competency and ability to lead. AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL: A POLITICAL TURNING POINT FOR THE WAY PUBLIC FELT ABOUT BIDEN Before what turned out to be a watershed moment in his presidency, Biden was enjoying high approval ratings on issues ranging from the economy to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Biden’s decision to pull troops from Afghanistan faced widespread global backlash after Taliban insurgents retook the country in a matter of days on Aug. 15, 2021, just a month after the president assured Americans that the likelihood of a Taliban takeover was “highly unlikely.” The military evacuation, which required thousands of additional U.S. troops on the ground and significant cooperation from the Taliban to complete, left behind hundreds of U.S. citizens and tens of thousands of Afghan allies, despite Biden’s promise days earlier to “get them all out.” While Biden admitted that the Taliban’s takeover had caught the U.S. off guard, he has insisted he made the right decision in ending the war and has declined to fire a single official over the pullout. Biden’s decision to act unilaterally in withdrawing troops without consulting his NATO allies sparked backlash from officials in the U.K., Germany, Italy and France, among others, with foreign officials describing it as a betrayal and damaging to America’s credibility. BIDEN’S STUMBLES IN DISCUSSING UKRAINE INVASION EVOKE MISSTEPS DURING BOTCHED AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL The president campaigned in 2020 on his decades of foreign policy experience with promises to repair the U.S. standing on the world stage after four years of the Trump administration. However, critics have often compared the withdrawal to the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War and have said Biden’s foreign policy blunders have given the green light to authoritarian leaders to act aggressively across the globe. Two months after the Afghanistan withdrawal, Russian President Vladimir Putin renewed a major buildup of troops near the Ukrainian border in October 2021. On Feb. 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a bloody and economically devastating war that continues today. Critics have said the Biden administration was too slow to act in imposing economic sanctions against Russia during the months-long military buildup. Experts say Chinese President Xi Jinping has been closely watching the U.S. response to Russia to determine his own potential military action regarding Taiwan. China has long claimed Taiwan as its own territory, despite the island having its own democratic government. In February, as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, nine Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense zone. Biden’s multiple foreign policy blunders, starting with Afghanistan, have caught up with him in the polls. Fox News’ Nikolas Lanum, Anders Hagstrom, Brian Flood, David Rutz and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.
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