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Biden’s Twisted Idea of Empathy

President Joe Biden in Lahaina Maui, HI
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By: Charles C. W. Cooke – nationalreview.com

The president’s responses to tragedies almost always involve butchering the truth to make them about him, rather than their victims.

For the living, the news of a death brings with it a peculiar mixture of the transcendent and the mundane. There is shock to absorb, anguish to process, and passion to assuage, and then, in the midst of all that, there is the bureaucracy. Within hours, one must turn one’s attention to the dull but necessary questions that all mourners face in such times. Questions such as: “Where can we get hold of the coroner?” “What should we do with the body?” And, “How swiftly can we get Joe Biden here to make this event about himself?”

I joke, but only in part. Last week, political spectators marveled at the seeming callousness of the president’s repeated insistence that he had “no comment” about the devastating fires in Hawaii, but it turned out that the taciturn approach had been the correct one all along. Eventually, Biden consented to visit Maui and to say a few words about what had happened, and, as everyone ought to have anticipated, it did not go well. Addressing the news that 114 Americans had died thus far, and that 1,000 more were yet to be found, Biden told the families that his wife and daughter had died in a car accident in 1972, and that he, too, grasped what it’s like to “lose a home,” because his house suffered an insignificant kitchen fire back in 2004 and he almost lost his Corvette.

Is this what they mean by “Dark Brandon”?

For Biden, this was par for the course. After 13 service members were killed in Afghanistan — largely as a result of his own appalling lack of planning — Biden told the families that his son died in Iraq and was brought home in a “flag-draped coffin.” This was not merely inappropriate; it wasn’t true. On Memorial Day this year, Biden, asked to honor those who had died for their country, skipped merrily past that peskily narrow theme and discussed Beau again. Sure, Biden conceded, his son “didn’t perish in the battlefield.” But what’s that small detail on a day explicitly dedicated to the memories of those who did?

Whatever the topic, Joe can make it about him. Civil rights? He doesn’t just support them; he is them, having participated in a sit-in in the 1950s (he didn’t), helped to desegregate movie theaters (never happened), and worked as a lawyer for the Black Panthers (nope). Gay marriage? Biden didn’t just change his mind on it, he remembered all of a sudden that, in the Scranton of the 1950s, his working-class Catholic father liked to endorse the sight of two men kissing in the streets. Race? Ethnicity? Religion? Biden is all of them at once. He’s Catholic, blackJewish, Greek, Puerto Rican, Polish. One can only imagine what Biden might have said had he been president at other points in history. There’s been a mass suicide at Jonestown? “I, too, have had food poisoning.” A second plane has hit the World Trade Center? “Jill and I know all about flight delays.” The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor? “My Dad once had to sell his fishing boat.”

There are three plausible reasons as to why President Biden keeps doing this. The first is that he is a narcissist who is genuinely incapable of thinking beyond his own frame of reference. The second is that he’s an amnesiac, whose collection of applicable anecdotes has now narrowed to the vanishing point. And the third is that he believes quite genuinely that this is what empathy looks like, and that there is nobody around him who is willing and able to correct his course. Whatever the cause, it’s a problem. Without any sign of guilt or self-reflection — and egged on by a press that is incapable of honestly holding him to account — the president has taken to playing Bereavement Bingo. When one learns that Biden intends to respond to a tragedy, the question is not if he’ll make the calamity about himself, but in what manner. Before long, one expects Las Vegas will be taking bets.

In recent years, Americans have been cursed to suffer presidents who cannot distinguish between the office and themselves. Joe Biden has proved no exception to this pattern. Statesmen recognize the difference between a campaign rally and a consecration. Orators understand that the ceremony is of a different species than the confessional. Leaders grasp instinctively when to break that fragile fourth wall. Joe Biden does not. He is Prince Philip without the charm, Kanye without the genius, David Brent without the script and hidden camera.

Come back, “no comment” — all is forgiven.

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Source: Biden’s Twisted Idea of Empathy | National Review