Terry Prone: Jill Biden should help Joe Biden understand that quitting isn’t the same as losing

Jill Biden loves her husband as much as Edith Wilson loved Woodrow Wilson a century ago. But Edith's role is no longer available. The best thing Jill could do now is tell him he's got to go.

8th Jul 2024
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Originally published in the Irish Examiner.

Jill Biden loves the US president. Has loved him for a long time and has come through difficult times with him. She bought into him to such an extent that she took on his children and his background as a widower, challenges that have felled many well-intentioned women in the past.

She has accommodated his decline, and you can imagine the compensatory mental processes deployed. He wandered away from world leaders at a D-Day event.

True. But so what?

He wanted to talk to some ordinary soldiers who were present and what’s wrong with that? He has always cared more for ordinary people than for the great and good. And furthermore, criticism of him wandering is rendered ridiculous by the then British prime minister sneaking off to do a pointless television programme and offending all of his country’s veterans.

Similarly, as evidenced by her enthusiasm at the post-debate party (somewhat unfortunately held in the Waffle House), she believes he answered all the questions he was asked truthfully and with data, which, it has to be said, did not characterise the answers of his opponent.

As an educator, Jill cannot have missed the incoherence of some of her husband’s responses, but she’s used to these rambling sentences and knows that the intent is always good. Look at the guy’s track record, which is positive.

The first lady must be mystified to find herself portrayed by presidential aides and Democrats as leading a conspiracy and creating a protective cocoon around the president, but that’s what has happened.

It happened in the immediate aftermath of the big debate, when Democrat VIPs and donors accused Jill Biden and the president’s family of actively concealing his decline. Startled by the disastrous performance, they suggested the president’s deteriorating thought processes and lucidity were so obvious that it was worth asking why neither had been spotted up to now. The concealment they attributed to family and staff orchestrating a reduction almost to nil of challenging interviews and press conferences.

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