Biden's presidential test is unlike any other

The State of the Union address, War in Ukraine and a Supreme Court selection are all exceptional examples of a president who ran as an experienced leader in crisis situations.

Biden's presidential test is unlike any other

WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON's State of the Union speech is the most important on the presidential calendar. The most lasting decision a president can make is to fill a Supreme Court vacant. Nearly 80 years ago was the last time that a president faced a large-scale conflict in Europe.

All three are being dealt with by President Joe Biden in one week. A man who has aspired to be president his whole adult life will now face a unique convergence of presidential challenges. These challenges will test his judgment, experience and competence, which he claimed made him the best candidate to be commander in chief.


 

Biden has been alternating between meetings that are focused on his selection for the first Black woman to serve as Supreme Court nominee by his self-imposed deadline of February 31, and phone calls with foreign leaders. He also received briefings from his national safety team regarding the growing crisis within Ukraine. Between meetings, Biden has been writing and preparing for Tuesday's address to Congress. According to a White House official, it has been a challenge for a man already overwhelmed.

For example, Biden met with his national security team on Wednesday to discuss the Russian sanctions. He also received an update from Louisa Terrell, Director of Legislative Affairs, Dana Remus, White House counsel, and Louisa Terrell, Director of Legislative Affairs, on the consultations with senators of the Supreme Court. Then, he met with Mike Donilon who was his top strategist to review the passages in his State of the Union address that relate specifically to Ukraine.

According to a White House official, Biden has made more than 30 calls and met with world leaders in recent months about Ukraine. This includes 12 calls from foreign leaders since last week's beginning.

Ron Klain, White House chief of staff, stated that it was important for a president not to simultaneously do domestic and national security. "That's what the president is here to do, and that's what he is doing."

Officials at the White House insist that neither company has been hurt in this process. Officials said that all presidents must multitask. One repeated the well-known axiom that the president could "walk and chew gum simultaneously".

Biden is working with veteran teams that he assembled to help him focus on the task at hand. His diplomatic efforts are led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He was previously the staff director for Biden's Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Doug Jones, an ex-senator from Alabama who served as a staff member of the Senate Judiciary Committee together with a young Senator Biden in the 1940s, is helping to corral his Supreme Court search.

Biden's ambassador to the European Union is Mark Gitenstein. Gitenstein was his chief counsel when Biden headed the Judiciary Committee. Klain succeeded him in that position. Donilon, his closest and longest-serving consigliere, is still the chief architect of his message.

Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian said that the current challenges facing Biden come at a time when our democracy is in great vulnerability.

Biden has been a national politician for 50 years, more than any other person in American history. He said that he has a half-century of political experience and the long memories of a leader who started his career with dealing with old questions such as the Vietnam War or detente with Moscow. Truman once stated, "Not all readers will be leaders, but every leader must read history."

The White House had to reshuffle its calendar to make room for the infrastructure law. Biden has been able to work in preparation sessions and pull down scheduled public events.

Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), who currently holds Biden’s Senate seat, stated that he spoke with the president recently as he was preparing to travel to Eastern Europe on a congressional delegation. He said that the president had shared with him his interest in the trip and that he'd spent "a lot" of time researching the backgrounds and judicial records of potential Supreme Court nominees.

Coons stated, "He was content that he had many options."

Biden's campaign was shaped by the challenges that he faced now. As the then-front-running Democrat, Biden fell into the first nominating contests of Iowa and New Hampshire, Donald Trump was facing impeachment for trying to extort Ukraine’s president to open an investigation into Hunter Biden.

Biden made a promise to a South Carolina debate audience that he would choose a Black woman for the high court if there was a vacancy. This was the element that won the endorsement of Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), and a win in the South Carolina primary which set him on his path to the nomination.

Biden spoke out in his longest campaign interview just days before the Iowa caucuses. He said that while he'd run twice for president and had considered it in other years but 2020 was the moment he felt most at home.

He said, "The things I believe are most urgently needed right now in the nation are not necessarily the things that were required eight years ago, 12 years ago, 15, 20 years ago or 15, but they are in my backyard." It's about reestablishing the country's place in the international arena in foreign policy and domestically bringing together the country. These are the things I believe my record shows that I have been quite good at all my life. That's what I believe must be done.

Biden shared earlier in the campaign that Jill, his wife, was sometimes cool to presidential runs, and had helped him to run for this election.

He shared his thoughts with a New Hampshire voter, "The reason my wife wanted me run this time was because of the Supreme Court."

Biden joked often about President Barack Obama's election with two ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and an economic crash. He would then say that "everything except locusts landed upon his desk."

Biden's presidency will now depend on his ability to navigate the challenges of today and those yet to come.

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