Your Turn: Biden must be more presidential, less political

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John Moore

Barring something unforeseen, it is clear Joe Biden and Donald Trump will be the Democratic and Republican candidates for president in 2024. This despite a large percentage of Americans not wanting to see these two men face each other again. It is also clear this election will occur when our country is deeply divided politically due to Trump’s conduct and mistakes made by Biden.

Despite being a career politician and vice president for eight years, Biden was completely unprepared to become president in 2020. He attempted to “work across the aisle” to address issues like infrastructure. He never understood the most serious threat to America was how deeply the country was becoming divided. Consequently, his administration’s decisions contributed to that toxic division. The most egregious mistake was made by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

On Jan. 6, 2021, Trump caused a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the peaceful transition of power. This was only one of several approaches Trump pursued to retain power despite his losing the 2020 election by more than 7 million votes. But Americans witnessed all of Trump’s actions and understood what they were: attempted coups by Trump to overthrow the elected government of America.

Incredibly, Garland directed his Department of Justice to not investigate Trump’s responsibility for these actions for a full year after Jan. 6. Instead, they pursued the rioters who broke into the Capitol.

This flawed decision to not pursue Trump was key to creating the deep division that exists in America today. This enabled Trump to hold hundreds of rallies at which he declared the 2021 election was stolen from him. Thousands of people have heard this message repeatedly and have never seen Biden or any administration official strongly rebut it until very recently. Too little too late. It is fair to understand how so many believe Trump, especially with Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon and other Trump supporters perpetuating his big lie.

While Trump held these rallies, there was no Biden official strongly refuting Trump’s bogus claim that the 2021 election was stolen. No one stressed Trump lost 60 legal challenges. Vice President Kamala Harris was and is not capable of doing this. Harris is a poor public speaker who has done nothing noteworthy as vice president and hurts Biden’s reelection efforts if she is his selection for vice president.

This decision to delay has now had a second harmful impact. After the late start, the time it has taken to prosecute Trump creates the opportunity for him to claim election interference.

There is a way to recover. Garland should resign, and Harris, a successful prosecutor before entering the Senate, should replace him. Then Biden must find a strong credible spokesperson as his running mate to convince Americans he won a fair election in 2020 and expose Trump and his lies. I would recommend Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan governor who Trump supporters tried to kidnap.

Biden must also expose how unfit Trump is for office. Trump’s poor record as president should be focused on. This includes adding $8 trillion to the national debt and calling COVID-19 a hoax.

Trump’s own words should be used to define his character. He said that American soldiers from World War II buried at Normandy were “losers and suckers” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin can do “whatever the hell he wants” to our NATO allies.

Beyond exposing Trump, Biden must be strong to truly serve America. He should move to clearly establish our leadership in the free world by protecting NATO and supporting Ukraine. Republican opposition to these actions should be explained very clearly as Trump/ House Speaker Mike Johnson pro-Putin anti-American positions.

Biden must also rise above traditional politics and admit his mistakes. The southern border should have been focused on from day one of the administration and will be his second highest priority going forward. Admit the withdrawal from Afghanistan was a disaster. He should not have given Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu a blank check.

Protecting our democracy, restoring integrity in politics and bringing Americans together must be his highest priority. In other words, Biden has to rise above traditional politics to provide the strong leadership our country needs.

— John Moore, of Lawrence, served as Kansas commerce secretary and was lieutenant governor under Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.


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