“Garbage” in, garbage out, I suppose. Joe Biden thought he’d scored a point on Fox News by telling Peter Doocy, and ended up with looking clueless about his own administration. Biden tried to blame Fox for incentivizing illegal immigration by filing a “garbage” report that his administration would pay $450,000 per person in a settlement over separated families in the Trump administration.
There were only two problems with Biden’s argument. First, it got reported by the Wall Street Journal, not Fox. And second, well …
The New York Times picked up on the denial, and went a little further. Contrary to Biden’s accusation of a “garbage” report, they confirmed that Biden’s administration indeed had negotiated a settlement on these terms:
President Biden on Wednesday said migrants separated from family members at the border would not receive hundreds of thousands of dollars for the damage inflicted by the Trump-era policy, rejecting an option for monetary compensation that had been floated in negotiations with lawyers representing the families.
Representatives of the migrant families and government officials had discussed giving families $450,000 for each member affected by former President Donald J. Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which led to the separation of about 5,500 children from their parents, according to people familiar with the matter. But when asked on Wednesday about compensating the migrants, Mr. Biden denied the option was on the table.
“$450,000 per person? Is that what you’re saying?” Mr. Biden said when asked by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy about the payments. “That’s not going to happen.”
After this exchange at yesterday’s presser, the ACLU attempted to gently inform everyone that President Joe Biden apparently has no idea what’s happening in his own administration. ACLU executive director Anthony Romero suggested that Biden may not have been, er … “fully briefed”:
ACLU’s big mad at Biden for dismissing reports that DOJ is negotiating $450k payouts to illegal immigrants. They say he must not have been briefed about negotiations his DOJ is conducting with ACLU https://t.co/pRQ17b4Z6A pic.twitter.com/blavHSKy7E
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) November 3, 2021
This leaves Biden in another jam entirely of his own making. What does he do now? He only has two choices, neither of them palatable. One: Biden explains why he actually is incentivizing more illegal immigrations (by his own statement to Doocy, no less!) by making these payouts and making the border crisis worse. Two: Biden tells the Department of Justice to drop the settlement, forcing the ACLU to go to court and end up defending Trump’s border-enforcement policy. Door #1 loses moderates and suburban votes, and Door #2 loses progressives and activists.
Oh, and let’s not forget that Door #1 has an extra added bonus of becoming the centerpiece of a GOP campaign in the fall against vulnerable House Democrats. And there are a lot more of those than Biden thought before Tuesday’s elections.
Even more importantly, however, this episode demonstrates that Biden really doesn’t have a clue as to what is happening in his own administration. Biden either didn’t know about this settlement or forgot it so entirely that he couldn’t recall it when asked. This doddering performance is why Biden doesn’t take many questions from reporters in the first place, and why Americans have begun to lose confidence in Biden’s abilities. And they may well be wondering at this point who’s really running the White House.
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