In a recent interview with NBC News, author Franklin Foer discussed his new book, “The Last Politician,” which delves into the insecurities that President Joe Biden continues to carry with him from his 1987 plagiarism scandal. Foer revealed that Biden’s fear of being perceived as unintelligent due to the scandal has shaped the way he navigates the world.
Foer explained that Biden’s primary insecurity revolves around not wanting to be seen as stupid, which has led him to prioritize thorough preparation before interviews and press conferences. Biden wants to have a strong grasp of the topics he will be discussing, ensuring that he can demonstrate mastery and avoid any potential missteps. As a result, his preparation sessions can extend over long periods of time.
The plagiarism scandal that unfolded during Biden’s initial presidential campaign in 1987 had a significant impact on his reputation. He faced widespread criticism and mockery after being caught plagiarizing the speeches of other politicians. Media outlets also reported that he had lied about his academic record and involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. One particularly memorable encounter with voters saw Biden insulting the intelligence of a man who questioned his credentials.
Foer’s book highlights Biden’s struggles to maintain mental sharpness due to his advanced age. According to Foer, the president’s energy levels have declined, affecting his ability to exude a robust public presence and recall names easily. Biden’s public image has been impacted by these factors, reflecting a decline in physical vitality and mental acuity that no amount of exercise or regimen can halt. In private, he has even admitted to friends that he often feels tired.
Throughout his presidency, Biden has faced numerous mental gaffes during public appearances, both before and after his election. Foer mentions one incident in which Biden made a statement in Warsaw in March 2022, suggesting that his administration aimed to achieve regime change in Russia and remove President Vladimir Putin from office. When White House staffers attempted to clarify his statement, Biden responded with frustration, feeling as though they were trying to cover up his error. He expressed his annoyance to friends, comparing his treatment to being treated like a toddler and questioning whether previous presidents, such as John F. Kennedy, had been similarly “babied.”
Biden has also expressed frustration over his low public approval ratings. According to Foer, Biden largely blames the media for not adequately portraying the ways in which his administration has outperformed that of his predecessor, Donald Trump. The president feels that his own White House has failed to effectively communicate and believes that more surrogates should be appearing on television to defend and support his policies.
Foer even suggested that Biden may decide not to seek re-election in 2024. He noted that Biden often utilizes the word ‘fate’ when discussing his life and future plans, as he is a deeply religious individual. Foer believes that when Biden talks about ‘fate,’ it implies uncertainty and suggests that the president is open to whatever path may unfold.
As the revelations from Foer’s book circulate, it remains to be seen how they will impact public opinion of President Joe Biden. However, they shed light on the deep-rooted insecurities and struggles that continue to influence his actions and decisions as the leader of the United States.