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The worst of what Biden did wrong
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The worst of what Biden did wrong

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The worst of what Biden did wrong

MARC A. THIESSEN

WASHINGTON — In my last column, I listed the 10 best things President Joe Biden did in his first year in office. Here are the 10 worst (winnowing this list down to just 10 entries was extremely difficult):

10 — He canceled Operation Legend amid a record crime wave in U.S. cities. At least 12 major cities broke annual homicide records in 2021. Yet Biden ended the Trump Justice Department’s Operation Legend, which deployed federal officers to aid local law enforcement and helped arrest more than 6,000 criminals. Now, after suffering the most violent year in a quarter century, the mayor of Chicago is requesting federal help to fight violent crime — help that Biden withdrew when he took office.

9 — He weaponized the FBI to intimidate parents who show up at school board meetings. Parents are furious about pandemic closures and schools indoctrinating their kids with extremist ideologies. Biden treated them like domestic terrorists.

8 — In the midst of a historic labor shortage, he pushed vaccine mandates. Forcing employers with more than 100 employees to fire unvaccinated workers — even if they have natural immunity from previous infection — or impose onerous weekly testing requirements would drive more Americans out of the labor force, at a time when businesses can’t find workers and there are more than 11 million unfilled jobs.

7 — His war on fossil fuels drove domestic production down and gasoline prices through the roof. Then he begged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) — a foreign oil cartel — to produce more oil, which will result in the same emissions as domestically produced oil. It’s like the 1970s all over again.

6 — He greenlighted Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany. Then Biden inappropriately pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to accept Russian energy dominance over his country. Democrats impeached President Donald Trump for far less.

5 — He showed weakness in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine. It’s no coincidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin is threatening Ukraine just months after Biden’s disastrous retreat from Afghanistan and his capitulation on Nord Stream 2. Then, channeling his inner Neville Chamberlain, Biden offered to hold talks to discuss Russia’s concerns on NATO and the possibility of “accommodations.” Pushing Ukraine to “accommodate” Moscow under threat of invasion would reward Putin’s aggression — and invite more of it.

4 — He unleashed the worst border crisis in U.S. history. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported more than 1.7 million encounters with illegal migrants at the southern border, nearly four times the number the year before, the highest annual total on record — including 378,000 who were not from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala. Seizures of deadly fentanyl more than doubled in 2021, and is closely connected to a surge in overdose deaths, which reached a historic high.

3 — His $1.9 trillion in social spending disguised as “COVID-19 relief” helped unleash inflation and extreme labor shortages. This was the worst fiscal policy mistake in decades, passed with Democratic votes alone. And despite all that “COVID” spending, shortages of test kits and treatments persisted as the omicron variant arrived.

2 — He failed to deliver on his promise to put his “whole soul” into uniting the country. Biden threatened to veto his own bipartisan infrastructure bill, then went to Capitol Hill and urged members of his own party to take it hostage as leverage to pass Build Back Better. He failed to pass any other major pieces of bipartisan legislation, allowing himself to be captured by his party’s radical left wing.

1 — His withdrawal from Afghanistan was the most shameful foreign policy calamity in my lifetime. Biden left hundreds of U.S. citizens and as many as 62,000 of our Afghan allies behind enemy lines, and forced NATO allies to abandon their citizens and allies as well. He put the safety of U.S. service members at the Kabul airport in the hands of the Taliban and Haqqani network, a decision that led to the deaths of 13 Americans in a suicide attack. His “over the horizon” drone strike killed no terrorists but took the lives of 10 innocent people. And he repeatedly lied about the unfolding disaster — declaring that al-Qaida was “gone” from Afghanistan; that no Americans were having trouble getting to the airport; that no allies were questioning the United States’ credibility; that none of his military advisers had recommended leaving a residual force; and that his Afghan debacle was an “extraordinary success.”

That’s a shameful list, but it only scratches the surface. Among the (dis)honorable mentions: Biden proposed what The New York Times reports were the “highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II”; he increased vaccine hesitancy by insulting the unvaccinated; at a time when the threat from China is rising, he sent Congress a budget that actually cut defense spending after inflation; and he told Putin that 16 areas of the United States’ critical infrastructure were off-limits to Russian cyberattacks — which effectively told the Russian leader that the rest were not.

Little wonder that Biden suffered the fastest collapse in public approval of any president in modern history. When he took office, he had almost 56% approval and was 20 points above water. Today, he’s more than 10 points underwater. That’s a 30-point swing in less than a year. No recent president has fallen from grace so far, so fast, so early in his presidency.

This was the worst first year of any president in my lifetime.

Follow Marc A. Thiessen on Twitter, @marcthiessen.

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