Former Vice President Joe Biden talks about unifying the country, after running one of the most divisive campaigns in the history of the United States.
Though he was cast by the media as a grandfatherly, empathic figure, Biden literally called his opponent a Nazi and covered up violence, calling rioters attacking federal officers “peaceful protesters.”
If Biden is sincere about wanting to bring Americans back together, he will have to do more than say “we are not enemies.” Nine ways to start:
1. Apologize for Nazi slurs. When you cast your opponents as Nazis, you are exposing them to physical danger and social isolation that lasts beyond the campaign. Biden released a video comparing the president to Adolf Hitler, and his supporters to fanatical Germans. He said Trump was like Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. And he launched his campaign with the infamous Charlottesville “very fine people hoax,” falsely claiming Trump supported Neo-Nazis. He stuck with it even when confronted with the truth. Biden owes it to the country to explain that his claims were not actually true, and to apologize. He should also apologize for claiming during the campaign that “10 to 15 percent” of Americans are “just not very good people.” (That’s roughly 50 million people.) He should make it clear that he does not consider America to be a racist country, even if he has taken up the left-wing mantra of “systemic racism.” Otherwise, the divisions of the campaign will simply continue.
2. Condemn the attacks. Biden has not condemned physical attacks on Trump supporters since the election. Nor has he told supporters to stop harassing members of Trump’s legal team, who have been threatened with everything from disbarment to rape. Trump is exercising the same legal rights as any other candidate — including Biden himself, who boasted in July that he had 600 lawyers and 10,000 volunteers ready to fight so that the president can’t “steal this election.” The fact that the media have not asked Biden to condemn the violence and threats is bad enough, but Biden should not need an invitation to do so.
3. Call off the political prosecutions. Much is being made this week of rumors that Trump intends to pardon members of his family preemptively — and himself, if he can legally do so. The reason he has to do it is that Democrats have vowed to keep investigating him for unnamed offenses even after he leaves office. In New York State, Democratic prosecutors are poring over his financial records, in search of a crime. The fact is that Trump is being punished simply for winning in 2016 — and Democrats are trying to frighten any future outsider candidates from attempting what Trump did. It is abusive, undemocratic behavior, corrosive to the rule of law, just like the ridiculous impeachment. Moreover, some Democrats continue to call for Trump supporters to be jailed, fired, and marginalized, simply for the “crime” of supporting the president. Some have even made lists of their political enemies for retribution after January. Biden should tell Democrats to knock it off, immediately.
4. Recognize that Trump is a legitimate president. Biden fueled the feverish conspiracy theories of his party when he supported the idea that Trump had not been properly elected. In May 2019, when a voter in New Hampshire told him that she believed Trump is an “illegitimate president in my mind,” Biden told her: “I absolutely agree.” That was just weeks after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report showed that there had been no collusion whatsoever between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. If Biden wants Trump to acknowledge his victory, perhaps he should acknowledge Trump’s.
5. Thank Trump for his achievements. Winston Churchill lost the 1945 election, just weeks after leading Britain to victory over Germany in the Second World War. Though the campaign had been a divisive one, and Churchill was bitter about having lost, his rival delivered a speech in the House of Commons in which he expressed “gratitude and admiration” for Churchill’s leadership. “His place in history is secure,” said Prime Minister Clement Attlee, noting that while he was out of office by the time Japan surrendered, victory “really was the outcome of plans made long before under his leadership.” Biden has admitted that things like Operation Warp Speed, the USMCA trade deal, and the Middle East Abraham Accords were real achievements, but he suggested during the campaign that they happened “accidentally” in spite of Trump, not because of him. It is time to put that pettiness aside and thank President Trump for what he did not just for conservatives, but the nation.
6. Learn from Trump’s successes. President Trump tried boldness approaches to governing that the Beltway establishment said would never work — and he often succeeded. The border wall helped slow illegal immigration. Support for fracking helped America lower emissions while growing the economy and expanding jobs. Supporting Israel led to peace in the Middle East. But already, Biden is signaling that he will abandon these successful efforts — stopping the wall, ending fracking on federal land (which hurts the entire industry), and excluding Israel from future negotiations with Iran. Show Americans that you’ve learned something from four years out of power, instead of negating Trump’s successes just because.
7. Meet with law enforcement. When Black Lives Matter protests brought riots to the streets of cities across America, Biden blamed the police, saying that they “escalate tension” and “resort to excessive violence.” He falsely claimed that Trump had cleared “peaceful protesters” from Lafayette Square, ignoring the fact that the U.S. Park Police moved them partly because of violent attacks on law enforcement. In Portland, Oregon, he excused violence against federal officers as “peaceful protests.” (Kamala Harris, his running mate, called them a “paramilitary.”) In Kenosha, Wisconsin, Biden failed to condemn left-wing riots for three days, and suggested police were to blame, citing “systemic racism.” These statements explain why law enforcement across the nation endorsed Trump. They took a big political risk in doing so. Since Election Day, Biden has found time to meet with teachers and nurses, whose unions supported his campaign. If he wants to bring Americans back together, he should meet — virtually if necessary — with leaders of police associations, to mend fences.
8. Commit to repairing our election system. Whether or not there was enough voter fraud to overturn the election result, the testimonies of witnesses across the nation in recent days have highlighted how dysfunctional our nation’s voting system is. Biden should reach out to his opponents, and to the 74 million voters who backed Trump, by committing to bipartisan election reform — not the way Nancy Pelosi wants to do it, by legalizing “ballot harvesting” and other abuses, but rather by cleaning up local corruption and incompetence, and finding methods that can prevent cheating while also assuring access.
9. Stop telling us about a “dark winter.” Biden won while promising to take more aggressive action in the fight against coronavirus. But he should stop telling us how terrible things are going to be. Rhetoric about a “dark winter” might be good for an election, but it is the opposite of what leaders should do when they have responsibility. It also has a depressing effect on every other aspect of life, especially the economy. Unite Americans by emphasizing the positive, and by looking forward.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.