One of the media’s beloved titles for President Donald Trump was ‘Divider-in-Chief’. Well-deserved at times, the moniker was even used of Trump by his challenger — now successor — President Joe Biden.
Indeed, Trump’s impulse to divide and denigrate was the deciding factor that many Americans could not vote for him. Others gave him their confidence but did so holding their nose for this very same character flaw.
On winning the White House, Biden used his first address to the nation to promise that he would be “a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify”.
At that November 2020 speech, Biden explained: “To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans.” He went on to vow that he would “work with all my heart for the confidence of the whole people, to win the confidence of all people.”
Less than 18 months into his presidency, however, Biden has cast serious doubt on the gravity of those promises and his ability to live up to them. Biden’s growing habit of using divisive rhetoric, mendacious cliches, and cheap mischaracterisations against his political opponents forces us to ask whether he is channelling Trump and now deserves the ‘Divider-in-Chief’ label himself.
A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey found that only 16% of respondents believe that Biden has united the nation, while 43% believe that he is responsible for ushering in more division. Biden’s approval rating more generally has been in free-fall for well over a year.
Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade, Biden not only called the decision ‘tragic’, ‘terrible’ and ‘extreme’, he also labelled the court itself extremist. “I share the public’s outrage at this extremist court,” he told cameras this week.
Less than two months ago, speaking on the same topic before the court’s ruling, Biden sensationally told reporters that “this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organisation that’s existed in American history.” Has he heard of the Ku Klux Klan? The Nation of Islam? Al-Qaeda? Antifa?
Back in January, Biden likened anyone who opposed Democrat-let efforts to overhaul the US electoral system to historical villains like Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
“So I ask every elected official in America, how do you want to be remembered?” Biden bellowed during a speech at Atlanta University. “Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”
Hardly bipartisan, the two pieces of legislation in question — the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — have been fiercely opposed by Republicans over fears they will strip states of their constitutional right to dictate how they conduct elections.
A month earlier, in December 2020, Biden scapegoated unvaccinated Americans in a doomsday message about an expected Covid surge over winter.
“It’s here now, and it’s spreading, and it’s going to increase… We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated — for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm,” Biden warned in a prophecy that failed to materialise.
And as pervasively reported here at MercatorNet:
President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security has issued a “National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin”, suggesting that if a citizen opposes mask and vaccine mandates, they may be a “domestic violent extremist”.
In the latter half of 2021, after a series of heated exchanges between school boards and parents upset over radical left-wing ideology in schools, the National School Boards Association sought White House intervention via a letter that characterised parents as potential “domestic terrorists”. Evidence later emerged that the White House itself may have solicited the letter.
The examples continue to multiply. The Divided States of America need a unifier. Is it too much to ask?