President Joe Biden, in a new role of news commentator, says it is unlikely 17 Republican Senators will vote to convict Donald Trump at his impeachment trial in the Senate.
This disastrous statement undercuts the House prosecution of its impeachment case in the Senate.
Hopefully, Biden will quickly discard his new role as a news commentator. His statement recalls his decades’ long reputation, well-deserved, as being a loose cannon who says inappropriate things whenever he is left to his own devices.
Biden won the election in large part because of his message discipline and his campaign’s success in keeping him from making off-the-cuff remarks.
What he should have said to Caitlin Collins, the CNN reporter:
“I believe that it is beyond doubt that President Trump committed the most serious possible impeachable offenses, and that he should be convicted and, further, barred from holding federal office in the future. The House Impeachment managers will lay out the evidence of his ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’. The Senators have sworn an oath to upheld the Constitution, and in particular they will take an oath to serve as impartial jurors in the trial of Trump. They should listen to the evidence, and perform their constitutional duty in good faith.”
Having stuck his foot in his mouth, President Biden should now issue a formal statement clarifying his remarks last night.
This statement should include language similar to that suggested above.
A further argument that will surely be made by the House impeachment managers, if not by Biden himself, is the following:
“Given the arguments and the preponderance of legal opinion, Senators cannot avoid their constitutional duty to serve as impartial jurors in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump on the weak and fallacious procedural ground and argument that you cannot convict someone who has left office.
“Impeachment as an institution applies to a broad range of federal office holders. They cannot be allowed to escape the ban on holding federal office in the future, no matter what their malfeasance and crimes, by the simple expedient of resigning from their office.”
“Loose lips sink ships.”
The Biden Administration is left with the problem of how to manage Biden’s informal conversations with the press.
An old war adage comes to mind: “Loose lips sink ships.” Here, Biden’s loose lips could sink his Administration.
Biden is a gregarious politician, all too ready to share his off-the-cuff opinions with the press. His advisers should find ways to manage his proclivities in ways that protect both him and his Administration. Insofar as possible, he should never be left with the press alone, or at least not without ample prior preparation.
We have enough news commentators. The President should eschew that role.
What we need is a disciplined President, who stays on message.
The Trenchant Observer