"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."
Well, Joe Biden has fooled us again and again during his 50-year career in politics. He has become infamous for gaffes, blunders ... and outright lies. And they continue.
In 1987, during the first of his multiple bids for the presidency, then-Sen. Biden famously plagiarized part of a campaign speech from one by Neil Kinnock, who was then the leader of Britain's Labour Party, even revising his own family history to conform to the speech. Biden, who once faced disciplinary action for plagiarizing part of a law school paper, claimed that same year that he "went to law school on a full academic scholarship – the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship" and that he "ended up in the top half" of his class. At one point, he had boasted that, in college, he was "the outstanding student in the political science department" and "graduated with three degrees."
After the flagrant inaccuracies in his statements were exposed, Biden made this admission on Sept. 22, 1987: "I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school, and my recollection of this was inaccurate." He actually graduated 76th out of a class of 85 from the Syracuse College of Law, and in college, received a single bachelor's degree.
Understandably, his presidential campaign hopes were dashed – for the 1988 bid – but as a prevaricator, he was just warming up.
While he served in the Senate, Biden's untruthfulness was so renowned that congressional staffers began passing around a spoof Biden resumé claiming that he was the "inventor of polyurethane and the weedeater" and "Member, Rockettes (1968)."
Biden's performance during the 2020 presidential campaign was generally lackluster, lethargic, and replete with gaffes and misstatements. Not surprisingly, his presidential blunders and misrepresentations have become increasingly momentous. There was, for example, his absurd (and debunked) claim that there was "unanimity" among his civilian and military advisers about the disastrous plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and that his border and immigration policies have been a "success." In fact, military leaders understand how to conduct strategic withdrawals, and our Southern border leaks like a sieve.
The same disdain for the truth also pertains to the president's pronouncements about his proposed policies – especially the promise to "Build Back Better" for American workers. Straining credulity and torturing the English language, last September Biden said about the costs of his massive "infrastructure" initiative:
We talk about price tags. The – it is zero price tag on the debt. We're paying – we're going to pay for everything we spend. So they say it's not – you know, people, understandably – 'Well, you know, it started off at $6 trillion, now it's $3.5 trillion. Now it's – is it going to be $2.9? Is it ... ' It's going to be zero – zero.
A zero price tag? As Issues & Insights editorialized in December: "No person with any schooling in basic math, economics, statistics or, alternatively, simply having plain common sense, would believe that spending trillions of dollars on nonproductive programs would actually result in zero net costs without massive added tax hikes. It's simply not real." The Babylon Bee offered this amusing take on Biden's claim: "Wife Claims $3.5 Trillion Spending Spree At Target Actually Cost $0."
The most recent example of Biden's lying to us is particularly worrisome. Diagnosed last week with COVID-19, he and his minions – especially the consistently unconvincing press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and White House COVID coordinator Ashish Jha – have subjected us to an ongoing snow-job about the president's illness. We've been told that his illness is "mild" and that he's "improving," in spite of the appearance over the weekend of new symptoms – a sore throat and muscle aches, according to Jha, appearing on "Fox News Sunday."
Moreover, Jean-Pierre, Jha, and Biden himself – in hokey videos, either on a White House balcony, or supposedly hard at work at his desk – continue to peddle the narrative that the president is willing and able to conduct the nation's business, in spite of the increasing symptoms, including fatigue. It is also odd that we have yet to hear in person from Biden's personal physician, Kevin O'Connor, who instead sends written missives to Jean-Pierre, who then proceeds to stumble while reading them at press conferences.
Finally, I smell something fishy about Jha's accounts of Biden's medications. Apparently, the doctors felt there was sufficient urgency about giving the president Paxlovid, a two-drug combination to treat the COVID, that they discontinued his Eliquis, an anticoagulant, or blood thinner, that prevents blood clots that could lead to a stroke. (Paxlovid and Eliquis can be dangerous when administered together.) The president is especially prone to such clots because of atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm. Then, apparently, the doctors substituted a small aspirin dose for the Eliquis, which is extremely sub-optimal. None of the press corps pursued this at the news conferences.
As a physician and an American, I'm concerned and annoyed. I'm worried because I'm acutely aware of who's next in line, should Biden become incapacitated; and after half a century of Biden's lies, I'm disgusted by them.
Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, was a research associate at the National Institutes of Health and the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology. You can find him online (henrymillermd.org) or on Twitter at @henryimiller.