Say It Ain’t So, Joe: The Failure of Biden To Denounce This Impeachment Is A Missed Presidential Opportunity

This week, President-elect Joe Biden made a highly commendable decision to nominate Judge Merrick Garland as the next United States Attorney General. Like many, I praised Garland as an outstanding choice and a move that advanced Biden’s earlier pledge to seek unity. That is why I was so disappointed in Biden refusing to take a position on the effort to impeach Donald Trump next week. As with his equally inexplicable refusal to take a stand on court packing, Biden’s silence on this clearly unsupportable “snap impeachment” was a missed opportunity to show real leadership when it matters most.  It is not popular to oppose this impeachment, but leadership often demands that presidents take unpopular but correct positions.

Biden stated on Friday that President Trump “isn’t fit to hold the job”  and said that he did not want Trump to attend the inauguration.  I have no problem with that statement. Indeed, Trump himself has said far worse about Biden and he has also stated that he does not want to attend the inauguration.  I also have no problem with calls for Trump’s resignation or a bipartisan statement of condemnation from Congress. However, critics want to push through an impeachment will little discussion or deliberation on highly dubious constitutional grounds.

When asked, Biden stated;

“I’m focused on the virus, the vaccine, and economic growth. What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide,” Biden answered when asked if he supported such moves. … We’re going to do our job and the Congress can decide how to proceed with theirs. That’s a decision for the Congress to make. I’m focused on my job.”

The defense of the Constitution is “his job” and this would gut both the process and the standard for impeachments. This was an opportunity to take a principled stand to unify the country by asking his party to stand down and not pursue a “snap impeachment.”  As I discuss in my column today, this impeachment not only threatens principles underlying impeachment but also free speech in our Constitution.

As with court packing, this is not the time for good people to stand silent even in the face of such unhinged anger. Indeed, Democrats may loathe the day that they embraced the concept of a “snap impeachment” — a contradiction in constitutional terms. Impeachments are designed for deliberative, not impulsive, acts.

Indeed, Biden’s reference to more pressing matters is preciously the point.  He should have asked Congress to focus on those issues and not an impeachment that will not succeed in removal but will succeed in undermining our constitutional system.

There could be evidence to support impeachment but it has to be found outside of this speech. That requires an inquiry.  Biden should oppose any “snap impeachment” to allow for hearings at a minimum.

This was the type of “Say It Ain’t So, Joe” moment that I was hoping for after the election.  Biden could have refused to go along with this plan or to remain silent in the face of a clearly improper use of the impeachment power.  He could still have condemned the speech and the President, as many have done. He could then have asked for his party not to do greater damage by rampaging through the Constitution to try to remove Trump in his final days. That was a presidential moment missed by the President-elect.


378 thoughts on “Say It Ain’t So, Joe: The Failure of Biden To Denounce This Impeachment Is A Missed Presidential Opportunity”

  1. Jake Tapper: “Source close to the vice president tells me while the VP and his family were in a bunker in the Capitol, the President did not reach out to check on his safety or condemn those who said the VP should be executed.”

    Chris Hayes: “Some in the crowd chanted “HANG MIKE PENCE” And to top it all off AFTER THE CROWD HAD BREACHED THE CAPITOL, perhaps the very moment they were asking aloud where Pence was, and chanting “HANG MIKE PENCE”, Trump ***sent out a tweet attacking Mike Pence.***”

    Trump’s tweet on the afternoon of Jan. 6: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution”

    Shimon Prokupecz: “Vice President Pence has not ruled out an effort to invoke the 25th amendment and wants to preserve it as an option in case Trump becomes more unstable, a source close to the VP says.”

  2. I agree with Professor Turley and Alan Dershowitz, this impeachment effort is unconstitutional and purely vindictive. It’s only going to make both sides angrier and damage free speech. President-Elect Biden should have gently warned the Democrats off.

    The American people are not happy with Pelosi to begin with–she actually lost House seats. If the President-Elect can’t confront the House openly about this, he should at least work behind the scenes to kill this impeachment.

    1. Impeachment is a matter for the Legislative branch, not the Executive branch. It’s not up to Biden.

      It’s not unconstitutional. It’s literally written into the Constitution that Congress can impeach for high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump has been trying to overturn the election results and stay in office.

    2. Dershowitz cares nothing for the constitution or the truth; he is a poseur and a pathological liar. The country is gone. We know who did it; we know their names; and no one cares. God Bless the former United States of America. You are now living in the Soviet Union. Oh, sure: when it’s convenient, they will defend the Constitution. But when the Constitution gets in the way of their own power and greed, then the One Percent will excrete all over said Constitution. The judiciary failed. The Supreme Court failed. The FBI, CIA, and DOJ failed. And the Republican Party failed. An oligarchy seized hold of the country and now y’all will be permanent serfs. Court packing is coming. Pogroms against Christians are coming. Expect the likes of Andrew Weissman to begin targeting the vulnerable, the marginalized, the conservative, and the Christian. Why not? He got away with unethical conduct for years, his fellow travelers stole an election, and the institutions of the state sat back and allowed it to occur because every single one of them is fatally compromised. The United States remains a credible military threat to other countries, but it is no longer respected as a moral hegemon. It is now a country in fatal decline. And it could have been stopped a dozen times over. No Constitution can survive when the government entities designed to uphold it simply refuse to do so.

      1. “No Constitution can survive when the government entities designed to uphold it simply refuse to do so.”

        100% agree.

      2. Trump failed.

        Trump and his enablers are the single biggest reason that the US is no longer respected as a moral hegemon.

        1. he US is no longer respected as a moral hegemon.

          You’re either a Millennial who knows nothing of anything which happened prior to 2009 or you fancy the rest of us are as memory-impaired as the incoming President.

          1. Neither.

            What would you nominate as the single biggest reason that the US is no longer respected as a moral hegemon?

            1. Amazing. We are “No longer respected” but multiple millions of people every year, legal and illegal seek to enter our country. Clearly there is Something we are doing right.

          2. I see the problem with most Americans as they only watch biased news and do not read any foreign news. They really have no idea what is going on in the rest of the world or how other countries operate.

  3. I have a question for Prof. Turley. Is it even constitutional to impeach a president who is no longer president? There is no way it gets done in the next 11 days. If it is legal, who’s next? Bush? Teddy Roosevelt? Herbert Hoover?

  4. Sen. Sherrod Brown, “Both @HawleyMO and @SenTedCruz have betrayed their oaths of office and abetted a violent insurrection on our democracy. I am calling for their immediate resignations. If they do not resign, the Senate must expel them.”

    Should be an interesting debate.

  5. Just so we all understand what the President is saying. These are some of his words.

    “I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack on the United States Capitol, like all Americans I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.” …

    “A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation”

    “To the citizens of our country, serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime. And to all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning”

      1. You got my attention the other day. You are a dummy. “To stop…” didn’t respond so I will. Trump did not call for violence and we have heard prominent Democrat leaders in support of the DC riots and riots all over the country. The Dem future VP promoted them. As far as the media goes you should listen to how quickly they reversed position.

        You are a hypocrite and stupid as sh1t. You don’t care about this nation or its people.

        I strongly objected to any support provided to the rioters across the nation that came from the left while leftists leaders and politicians called it wonderful. I condemn in the same fashion Trump supporters that broke the law or was violent. I also recognize that BLM and Antifa were involved. My understanding is that one of those members has already been named.

        Trump didn’t ask for violence but dumbbells like you distort what was said. Unfortunately you are near illiterate.

          1. Get a brain. Lack of one has made you stupid. Your stupidity makes you anti-American and uncaring about our citizenry. That is what is important.

              1. You are dumb enough to post twice, but none of that is important. Unfortunately your lack of intellect doesn’t permit you to know what is important. You don’t even know what you stand for or against.

              1. The need to copy tells us you don’t have one, but I appreciate the flattery.

                Let’s provide a test to see if in the interim you have grown a brain.

                Do the Nazi’s believe in big government like socialists and fascists?

                It’s tough not to know the basics.

      2. Well you can’t condemn something that has not happened. You seem to have miss this was also after Congress was finished.

  6. Trump as the winner had problems, sure, but at least he tried to stay within the Constitution. He accepted the word of legal experts, sometimes, because he knew he didn’t know enough to win within the law. But Trump as the loser is the worst. He’s painted himself into the corner where the only choice he allows himself is with his dangerous moron supporters. He may think his words don’t really incite violence – no, not really – but the only ones listening are unable to do anything but riot and rampage. That’s why impeachment makes sense. You may think these are Trump’s “last days”, after which he’ll go quietly, but after Wednesday, who can be sure? He’s still listening to those dangerous wackos, and may feel he has no choice but to encourage them. Biden was wise to stay out of it. He can only hope – like the rest of us – that Congress’ action may convince them that it’s over. He’ll have problems enough after the 20th.

    1. 74 million voted for Trump that had nothing to do with that small groups violent actions. They are not going away even if Trump leaves politics. They will remember Trump did not get us into any new foreign military actions. Made the country energy independent that was only talked about for decades.

  7. During 2nd debate, when pressed on question, Biden, in his all-to-often angry snap, asserted that “he is the democrat party”. Guess he was lying. Irony here is that Trump spent four years making unpopular decisions: a true leader. Now Biden is quickly revealing himself as the nasty partisan he has demonstrated for 5 years! Get ready for more disappointment!

    -Earn Valuable Prizes by Reporting Dangerous Activities

    WASHINGTON, DC- The Party today announced its new Party Points program, which was adopted as part of the historic domestic terrorism legislation enacted by President Biden earlier this week. Party Points can be used to earn valuable prizes as well as privileges under the Party’s social credit program.

    Party Points can be earned by reporting persons engaged in dangerous activities such as supporting domestic terrorist Donald Trump and his allies. Points can also be earned by reporting persons known or suspected of questioning the results of the 2020 election or making inappropriate comments about the hairstyle of senior Party official Nancy Pelosi, who the Party has entrusted to be third in line for the nation’s nuclear launch codes.

    “Earning Party Points is easy and fun. This morning on the way to my part-time job at the non-profit, I earned 100 points just for using the new Party Points app to upload a picture of a pickup truck with a Trump bumper sticker,” said Hope Taylor (they/them/their) of Round Rock, Texas. “On my break, I redeemed my Party Points for a caramel macchiato at the Starbucks downstairs. My macchiato tasted so much better knowing that I helped bring a domestic terrorist to justice,” they concluded.

    “I literally feared for my life when my mother wondered whether the 2020 election might have been tainted. The Party Points app even let me report her anonymously, so she doesn’t even know it was me,” said Shannon Haggerty-Jones (he/him/his) of Lake Forest, Illinois. “The Points put me over the top for a new iPhone 12 Pro Max. But what really rocks is that the Party will cover my college tuition while my mother is being re-educated,” Haggerty-Jones added.

    The Party Points app is available on all major Party-affiliated technology platforms, including Google, Twitter, TikTok, and WeChat. Points can be redeemed at participating retailers nationwide and can also be used to earn privileges such as interstate travel.

    Blog moderators and readers will recognize that the foregoing is intended as satire to foster discussion on important issues relating to the role of the government, the rule of law, and free speech.

    1. Party Secretariat for Safety and Unity says on January 9, 2021 at 4:53 PM: “Blog moderators and readers will recognize that the foregoing is intended as satire to foster discussion on important issues relating to the role of the government, the rule of law, and free speech.”

      Excellent…it could have come from The Onion website…LOL

    2. Recognized as satire immediately. However, reading some comments here suggest they would like it to be true.

  9. Big mistake voting for Joke Biden.Imagine: he compared Ted Cruz to Goebbles and he hasn’t
    even been sworn in yet. Meantime an ABC top honcho called for “cleansing” all Trump supporters,
    i.e. over 75 million Americans. He didn’t mean giving us all a bubble bath but actually
    exterminating us and anyone else who dares to dissent including respected intellectuals
    and freedom loving folks who at some point in time have voted for them…

      1. You can’t think past the present and imagine that others are like you. I wouldn’t trade my future for any amount of money.

  10. Inauguration. The inauguration should be done virtually. Carter, Bush, Clinton, Trump, stay home. Hire BLM renegad s to shoot the Trump renegades. The Capitol Police are in on the assassination attempt coming up on Biden.

    1. How stupid and ignorant does one have to be to write the slop you just wrote?

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