"The words of a president matter." – Joe Biden
This past week, the entire world has been forced to question whether we can trust President Biden’s words. Whether it was his July assessment that a Taliban takeover is "highly unlikely," his flat-out false claim that al Qaeda is "gone" from Afghanistan, or his inexplicable assurances that Americans were not having "trouble" traveling through Taliban checkpoints, the president has been contradictory, evasive and not in command of basic facts.
The tragic suicide bombing Thursday at Kabul's airport in Afghanistan that killed our service members and left an untold number of casualties makes it clear the deadly consequences of this catastrophic failure. (A second explosion took place at the nearby Baron Hotel, where Americans have gathered in the past for rescue and evacuation, the Pentagon confirmed.)
Despite attempts to the contrary, no amount of spin from the White House can hide the unacceptable and outrageous reality that their decisions have put the lives of thousands of Americans at the mercy of the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
But it’s not just on foreign affairs where the president’s words don’t add up. In fact, these heartbreaking and tragic events have just overshadowed his broken promises at home. The president has made it clear that he is completely unwilling to fight the toxic politics that have long plagued Washington if that means standing up to the far left of his party.
During the campaign, President Biden promised to restore bipartisan cooperation and turn down the temperature in Washington. He wasn’t elected by promises to move the country to the far left. He was elected because the American people were sick and tired of bitter partisanship, divisiveness and dysfunction. In his inaugural address, the president pledged to "start afresh" in Washington, pledging to show "humility" and work toward "unity."
Despite these promises of a new direction, upon taking office, the president immediately retreated back to partisan politics-as-usual, jamming through a nearly $2 trillion spending bill crammed through on a strictly party-line vote. However, a federal infrastructure bill offered the president the opportunity to reverse course and live up to his campaign promises. After decades of inaction on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, Republicans, Democrats and Independents all agreed that a federal infrastructure bill was desperately needed.
That’s why, in April, I was proud to host an unprecedented Annapolis infrastructure summit with Democratic and Republican governors, senators and members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus where we hammered out a compromise agreement on the size and scope of the package. The goal wasn’t just to help craft a bill that would be good for Maryland and America, but also to show that there were still Republicans and Democrats who are willing to put politics aside to do the right thing for our country.
To his credit, President Biden embraced this compromise bill, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support because he promised Republican senators that this bill would not be tied to the reckless, partisan and disastrous $3.5 trillion spending plan. And just two weeks ago, President Biden was touting this result as proof that "democracy can still work."
But when push came to shove, the president was unwilling to stand by his own words. As soon as the bill went to the House, he immediately abandoned his promises to Republicans and Democrats who negotiated in good faith, endorsing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s political gambit to use the bipartisan infrastructure bill as leverage to pass the $3.5 trillion bill.
Perhaps even worse, when nine Democratic members of the House refused to support this power grab, President Biden stood by as his own party smeared them with vicious attacks and reportedly threatened to "ruin" their districts and even "fire a member's relative" who works in his White House. How could President Biden possibly bring the country together if this is how he treats members of his own party who are fighting for what he claims to believe in?
This isn’t what the American people want from Washington. A recent No Labels/Harris X poll of 12,000 voters across 33 key swing districts found that while 72% of Americans support the bipartisan infrastructure bill, only 24% want it to be linked to another partisan bill.
Nor were these strong-arm tactics necessary to get the infrastructure bill passed. According to Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., many Republicans in the House were willing to support the bill as long as it was not linked to the $3.5 trillion bill.
President Biden promised to "end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal." Instead, we got a lot of bipartisan rhetoric masquerading as bipartisan action. Sadly, Washington under Joe Biden is the same old toxic politics and dysfunction with a lot more debt.
Unfortunately, the president's lofty rhetoric about unity appears to be as empty as his broken promises on Afghanistan.