As mega-crises swirl in from all directions at once, new presidents quickly figure out that the center of America’s governance bull’s-eye isn’t round after all – it’s Oval.
And that’s the way things turned out for the newest occupant of the Oval Office. President Joe Biden and his inner circle planned a message politics campaign to showcase his most impressive crisis leadership effort so far: Biden’s World War II-like mobilization in America’s war against COVID-19. Also, his plan to rescue Americans who were plunged into economic peril by the pandemic shutdown.
But in the process, Biden and his advisers unintentionally also showcased their most unfortunate crisis leadership shortcoming: their failure to fully anticipate the predictable refugee crisis that was sure to erupt on America’s southern border when he replaced Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
All the above was showcased when Biden was interviewed Tuesday by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in Pennsylvania, where Biden was promoting his effort to win the war against COVID-19.
Early in the interview, Stephanopoulos asked the obvious question about the surge at the Mexican border in unaccompanied children and teens fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. Biden seemed inexplicably caught off guard. He rambled, sounding unsure of just what it was he wanted to say. And not say.