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Where Does Joe Biden Go to Get His Apology?

The right mocked Biden for correctly predicting Trump might seek to delay the election.
by Jim Swift
July 30, 2020
Featured Image
Joe Biden. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

Well, it happened and President Trump went there, suggesting maybe we delay the election. As Charlie Sykes observes in his daily newsletter, this is just a “daily distraction” by Trump. He has no authority to do this; only Congress can change federal election dates. (Though, don’t be surprised to see a Trump toady propose a bill to do this, or propose giving the executive the authority to move elections.)

Conservatives are, rightly, fond of reminding liberals that Romney was mocked for (accurately) saying Russia is our greatest geopolitical foe during the 2012 campaign. Do you want to know who was mocked by conservatives for suggesting that Donald Trump might do this? 

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., at a fundraiser: “Mark my words, I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.”

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at how some on the right reacted.

At the Washington Examiner, my friend Jim Antle wrote a story on April 28 with the headline: “‘He’ll seize power!’ ‘He’ll postpone the election!’ The Trump schemes that never happen.”

Antle, a keen observer of politics, writes that there is no mechanism for this to happen absent Congress.

Here’s Antle quoting Jonathan Turley: “Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley calls the idea the ‘ultimate conspiracy theory’ and ‘little more than constitutional mythology, used for political advantage.’”

To be clear, Turley is talking about Biden here. 

Perhaps this will be a one-off tweet from the president; maybe he’s just trolling to distract from the disastrous economic news. Even still, go back and read what Biden was mocked for:

“Mark my words, I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held.”

We know in Trump World, most of the President’s bad ideas start with tweets. Does this count as trying? No. Has Trump already floated a rationale as to why the election can’t be held? Yes. 

But the time machine of bad takes must go back a few days to April 24, when Henry Olsen wrote at the Washington Post: “Nonetheless, Biden chose to taint the president essentially with a charge of treason.”

Treason! 

Some other gems from Olsen’s essay:

“[Biden’s accusation] was not only clearly over the line but also unmasks how low the supposedly moderate Biden will go to win. . . . This rhetoric is both unfounded and harmful to democracy. Trump has not done anything that a hopeful dictator would do, such as restrict press freedom, curtail political activity or arrest political opponents.”

In fairness to Olsen, that last one was issued months before Portland and the DHS goon squads. 

Surely now, even Olsen will agree that the rhetoric (and actions) that are harmful to democracy are coming from Donald Trump, not Joe Biden. 

It took Mitt Romney a few years to get his apology. I expect maybe Joe Biden will have to wait, too.

Jim Swift

Jim Swift is a senior editor at The Bulwark.