When I first saw this story crop up on social media yesterday, I’ll confess that a part of me hoped it wasn’t true. A video captured by C-SPAN during a meeting President Biden attended with wind industry executives appeared to show the President holding up a “cheat sheet” containing detailed instructions as to what she should and shouldn’t do during the meeting. The rules were so basic as to sound absurd and the New York Post described them as “comically detailed.” People have gotten so good at photoshopping images these days that I decided to hold off on writing anything about it because it still seemed possible that it might be fake. But it wasn’t. The President’s staff apparently feels that Joe Biden needs reminders for details as mundane as when, where, and how to sit down.
President Biden on Thursday inadvertently held up a comically detailed cheat sheet prepared by his staff instructing the gaffe-prone leader of the free world to “take YOUR seat” and to limit his remarks to “2 minutes.”
A photographer snapped an image of the document when Biden held it up backward at a meeting with wind-industry executives, which he attended after skipping his administration’s morning meeting with oil companies about combatting record gas prices. The prepared instructions for Biden — titled “Offshore Wind Drop-By Sequence of Events” — tell Biden to “enter the Roosevelt Room and say hello to participants.”
Then, the paper says, “YOU take YOUR seat.”
While plenty of people are having fun with this story (and it is kind of funny in a Saturday Night Live cold open sort of way), we probably shouldn’t be laughing too hard at it because it’s also alarming. Busy people often make a habit of bringing bullet points to a meeting to ensure they hit all of the key points, but how far gone does Joe Biden’s staff think he is when he needs a reminder emphasizing that he needs to sit down and which chair he should take? Did he really need to be reminded of the name of the AFL-CIO president and a question to ask her?
The existence of the cheat sheet is alarming enough, but then there is the way Biden physically handled it to ponder. If you need crib notes (as many of us do) you certainly should know that you don’t want to display them for the cameras. What would prompt the President to almost randomly grab the card and hold it up while he was speaking? And why would he hold the card with the instructions facing away from him?
That brings up the alarming possibility that Biden required so many reminders from his staff that there were more instructions on the other side. I’m struggling to imagine what they might say. ‘YOU must remember NOT to attempt to EAT any of the PENCILS or PENS on the table.’
This isn’t normal. It’s not even vaguely in the neighborhood of normal. I’m assuming that Ron Klain prepared that card or had it prepared for Biden. It seems unlikely that he would entrust the job to anyone else. We are reminded yet again that a person who apparently requires this level of minute-by-minute hand-holding to make it through a four or five-minute meeting is also the person who is ostensibly navigating a foreign policy path that could land us in the middle of World War 3 with a single mistake.
This reminds me (in an unpleasant way) of the recent incident where Joe Biden took a “tumble” during a bike ride with the First Lady. I took a pass on writing anything about it at the time, but I will confess to watching the video clip of the event multiple times and discussing it at home. Perhaps I’m interpreting this incorrectly, but it didn’t look to me as if Biden got his foot caught on the pedal or anything of that nature. He pulled up to a stop on the bike and, at least in my view, he simply forgot to put his foot down to steady himself. The bike fell over and he just went with it. Again, I sincerely hope I’m wrong about this, but it just seems to me that Joe Biden has gone around the corner to the point where these aren’t just humorous gaffes or incidents of bumbling anymore.