The first week of Joe Biden's presidency has been an assault on the democratic norms that Biden claims to uphold.
President Joe Biden told Americans in his Inaugural Address last week: “We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.” But one would be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given the Biden administration’s behavior on taking office.
After a week of Biden, the United States is being run more like a Third World country than an advanced democracy. Here are nine of the most salient examples:
1. Rule by executive order. President Biden issued dozens of executive orders in his first week, a new record. Yet at a town hall in October, he promised: “I have this strange notion. We are a democracy. … Things you can’t do by executive order, unless you’re a dictator. We’re democracy, we need consensus.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has supported him, turning the legislature into a rubber stamp, hailing Biden for what she called “transformative executive actions.”
2. Putting a predecessor on trial. Biden broke his pledge to seek “unity,” and backed a Senate impeachment trial for his predecessor, President Donald Trump. Trump has not committed any known crime. Moreover, the Constitution does not provide for a former president to be impeached. Already, 45 Senators voted to declare the trial unconstitutional, meaning there is no chance of a conviction. The only purpose is to prevent Trump from running for office again — pure politics.
3. Censorship of opposition. The Biden administration has not done anything to challenge the ongoing censorship of conservatives in social media, which the Biden campaign actually supported. Administration officials are said to be delighted that Trump has been banned from Twitter, because it has eliminated the most powerful opposition voice. In addition, the Department of Justice has begun prosecuting people for memes. The chilling effect on speech is real.
4. Attacking the private sector. Biden has killed jobs in the fossil fuel industry by canceling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and suspending oil and gas leasing on federal lands. He has done so even though there will be no benefit for the planet. Even Climate Envoy John Kerry admitted Wednesday that if U.S. emissions were to reach “zero,” the world’s emissions would ensure that climate change continued. But in a Third World dictatorship, the private sector is expendable.
5. Exploiting identity politics. Biden continues to peddle the lie that our society is haunted by “systemic racism.” He is leading an assault on common national symbols and ideas, deleting the report of the 1776 Commission within moments of taking office. (Biden attacked the report, which he clearly has not read, as “offensive” and “counter-factual.”) Biden also imposed new transgender rules on the military and on amateur sports, short-circuiting debate about a sensitive issue.
6. Challenging judicial independence. One of the only checks on a runaway executive or legislature is an independent judiciary. But Biden is pressing ahead with plans to “reform” the courts, potentially “packing” the Supreme Court with left-wing judges. To that end, he has appointed Bob Bauer to lead a “bipartisan” commission to study the issue. Bauer is Biden’s former campaign lawyer, and worked for Perkins Coie, the firm that arranged the fraudulent “Russia dossier.”
7. Purging former officials. Biden is removing officials appointed by his predecessor to a variety of agencies, from the Voice of America to the National Security Council. The “purge” has even included officials like National Security Agency general counsel Michael Ellis, who had previously been vetted through a bipartisan process. Trump complained about Obama “holdovers” but hired critics, even Democrats. Notably, Biden has not appointed one Republican to his Cabinet.
8. Encouraging a slavish media. The Biden Administration enjoys the benefit of fawning coverage from the mainstream media, which has thus far provided glowing reports about the new administration, and continues to portray Trump and his supporters in the most negative light possible. The Washington Post kept a running tally of allegedly false statements by Trump, but has declined to do so for Biden — even though Biden has a well-deserved reputation for telling falsehoods.
9. Military in the streets. The National Guard ought to have been brought to the Capitol to reinforce police on January 6. Their presence was understandable in the aftermath of the Capitol riot, even if the much-touted threats to the Inauguration never amounted to much. But now their presence has been extended for months, supposedly to thwart threats to the Senate trial. It looks less like a legitimate mission and more like a show of force by Democrats against their political opponents.