The mystique that once surrounded the Oval Office, diminished over the years by presidential scandal and increasingly partisan political news coverage, was essentially wiped away during the four disastrous years Donald Trump was president. His daily shattering of presidential norms did incalculable damage to the dignity of the office.
During the 2020 presidential election, the cheap shots at Joe Biden over his age from Trump and his allies were a national embarrassment. Which is why we shouldn’t be surprised by the blatantly calculated calls from some grandstanding Republicans for Joe Biden to resign, almost immediately after the terrorist attack in Afghanistan that killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghan civilians. But what did catch us off-guard was the speed with which the calls for resignation came, coming before we even knew the number of casualties in the attack.
NBC News’ daily “First Read” political blog noted how utterly senseless and counterproductive the resignation demands were.
It only served to polarize an already polarized country; it cheapened the legitimate criticism that Biden has gotten (and will continue to get) for his handling of the U.S. withdrawal; and it’s not serious at all.
We’re old enough to remember that when a tragedy like what happened in Kabul occurred, the first people members of Congress criticized were the terrorists behind the attack, not the American president.
There is absolutely legitimate criticism to be made of President Biden and his administration for how the withdrawal has played out. But these shameful displays of public indignation lessen the process of presidential accountability, and marginalizes an act as profoundly impactful as the removal of a president.
It marked a new low even for the toxic political arena of today, because those attacking Biden turned the deaths of nearly 200 people — including more than a dozen American soldiers — into political propaganda. Even Kevin McCarthy thought it went too far and told his fellow GOP legislators to back off on calling for impeachment and resignation, for fear that voters would see it as a ploy to earn cheap political points.
But there was Nikki Haley, former President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations and someone with selective memory about Afghanistan, tweeting out her thoughts on Biden in her latest attempt to test the waters for a potential 2024 presidential run.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who made the infamous fist-pumping show of support for the Insurrectionists on January 6, and who also proudly and publicly declared his support for Trump’s Afghanistan withdrawal deal with the Taliban, also issued a tweet that reeked of political opportunism.
Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn issued a statement demanding Biden and Vice-President Harris, along with several military leaders, step down.
The only surprising part of Blackburn’s statement was that she didn’t include Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her list of people that should step down. Does she fully understand the presidential line of succession?
Madison Cawthorne, the tree-fighting freshman congressman from North Carolina who has made “comms” his priority instead of any actual legislation, also piled on.
So did Florida Senator Rick Scott.
It’s all nonsense meant to stir up the perpetual outrage that is the closest thing the Republican Party has to a platform these days.
But lawmakers like Rick Scott and Josh Hawley pretending to care about holding the Commander-in-Chief accountable is laughable, considering they couldn’t muster the courage to vote to convict Trump after he incited an Insurrection at the Capitol because of his election lies. Scott and Hawley also voted against certifying Biden’s election victory, incidentally.
So now they expect to be taken seriously by the American public?
We don’t think so. Please sit down, stop with the performative politics, and perhaps show a little respect for those Americans who died in true service of our country.