What Joe Biden can learn from Harry Truman's failed steel seizure
Joe Biden: The Brian Williams presidency
"I have known every prime minister well since Golda Meir, including Golda Meir. And during the Six-Day War, I had an opportunity to - she invited me to come over because I was going to be the liaison between she and the Egyptians about the Suez. And I sat in front of her desk."
That was President Biden earlier this week, talking about meeting with Golda Meir, who served as Israel's prime minister from March 1969 to June 1974, during the Six-Day War. The problem for the president is that he was a student at Syracuse Law School in 1967 when the war occurred and the meeting was supposed to have taken place. Meir didn't assume office until two years later.
It's a growing trend with the 46th president, who has been telling tall tales right out of the Brian Williams playbook. You remember Williams, of course - the former NBC Nightly News anchor who claimed he had been shot at in a chopper over Iraq (he hadn't been) and said he'd seen dead bodies floating in New Orleans' French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina (he hadn't). Williams was suspended by NBC for telling these and other tales during his time as anchor, but the network was nice enough to bring him back a few months later with his own hour-long show on sister network MSNBC.
For Biden, it's the same deal: fabricating stories - and seemingly for no particular reason - that are easy to fact check. Remember, this is a career politician who has a history of playing fast and loose with the facts: He dropped out of his first run for the presidency due to plagiarism. Before dropping out, he claimed he'd graduated at the top of his law class (he was in the bottom half), earned three degrees from college (he didn't) and was named outstanding student in political science (he wasn't).
The future president continued to make ludicrous claims throughout his career, leading up to his third run for the presidency in 2020. For example, on Feb. 11, 2020, during the Democratic presidential primaries, he declared: "This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid. I had the great honor of meeting him. I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robbens Island."
This, of course, never happened, forcing the candidate to admit as much.
The pattern has continued into his presidency. On the drawdown of U.S. military personnel from Afghanistan, the commander in chief insisted that "if there's American citizens left (on the withdrawal deadline date of Aug. 31), we're going to stay to get them all out." That wasn't true, and to this day there are still hundreds of Americans trapped in the country under Taliban rule.
Biden also insisted he wouldn't "demand" that COVID-19 vaccines "be mandatory." That was, of course, before demanding they should be mandatory and even going so far as to tell businesses with more than 100 employees to ignore the Supreme Court - which had ruled such mandates are unconstitutional - and, instead, follow the Biden administration's guidance. That's an uber-180.
On voting rights, the president pushed this doozy repeatedly over the summer: "It's sick - deciding that you're going to end voting at 5 o'clock [in Georgia], when working people are just getting off work." The Washington Post "awarded" him "Four Pinocchios," its worst possible truth-rating:
On gas prices, the president said last week with a straight face: "Over the last month, we've seen oil and gas prices out of the wells, oil and gas prices on the wholesale market, come down significantly."
"Significantly" apparently is defined as "two cents."
On pumping trillions of dollars into the economy by passing two bills in an effort to (wait for it) lower inflation, he told CNN anchor Don Lemon: "If I pass the other two things I'm trying to get done, we will in fact reduce inflation, reduce inflation, reduce inflation," a claim echoed by White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Biden ran for the presidency based in large part on being an honest alternative to his truth-challenged predecessor, Donald Trump. He promised to restore trust in government, trust in our leaders, and to unify the country. In his Inaugural speech last January, he declared:
"Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders. Leaders who are pledged to honor our Constitution, to protect our nation. To defend the truth and defeat the lies."
Well, here we are again: Another president, another inability to play it straight with the American people. A Brian Williams presidency, if you will.
Here's betting that most people would prefer a Walter Cronkite presidency instead.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.