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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Columns

Calmes: GOP won’t do Biden justice

Republicans say president is a bungler – yet a criminal mastermind

By Jackie Calmes
Published: June 10, 2024, 6:01am

News flash: Republicans haven’t said it in so many words, but they seem to have a new line of attack against President Joe Biden: He suffers from dissociative identity disorder. Biden has multiple personalities.

For months on end, Republicans have hammered the message that Biden is an addled octogenarian — a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” in the gratuitous, much-repeated words of the Republican special counsel who cleared Biden of criminality for having a few classified documents.

Then Republicans flipped the script: Biden is a criminal mastermind.

They’re telling us that this political superman has successfully “weaponized” the justice system. Biden convened a “kangaroo court” — no, worse, a Stalinist show trial! — and executed “the most egregious miscarriage of justice in our nation’s history” by getting a jury to find Donald Trump guilty of 34 felonies in advance of the 2024 election. And stand by for the sentencing: On July 11, Biden the deep state puppetmaster surely will pull Judge Juan M. Merchan’s strings again, to ensure that he throws Trump in the clink.

“I grew up in Miami listening to the stories about the Castro show trials in Cuba,” Florida’s politically pliant Republican senator, Marco Rubio, wailed in Trump’s defense. “Not even in my worst nightmares would something like that ever happen here in America. But it did.” (It bears repeating: In 2016 Rubio said, “Many people … are going to be having to explain and justify how they fell into this trap of supporting Donald Trump.”)

How does Biden do it? How did he get a state grand jury, trial jury and judge to do his bidding? Well, leave it to Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, that wrestler-turned-congressional combatant who chairs the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government (yes, there really is such a thing in the Republican-controlled House), to seek the answer. Jordan has summoned Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Bragg’s lead prosecutor in the Trump trial to testify under oath next. Never mind that they are New York officials, not cogs in the federal government.

But, wait — the supposed commander in chief of this weaponized government has morphed yet again. His new persona: Biden the bungler.

Republicans would have us believe that the president engineered a “sham” case to make Trump a convicted felon, and yet Biden has been unable to prevent “his” Justice Department from putting his own son on trial. Hunter Biden is in court now, on three criminal charges alleging that he lied about his drug use when he bought a firearm in 2018.

Apparently, Biden created a Frankenstein’s monster out of the nation’s top law-enforcement department, which has not only turned on his own party, but also turned on his own family.

Republicans, Fox News and the rest of MAGA Media Inc. are reveling in the Hunter Biden trial, without, of course, acknowledging that it contradicts their cockamamie “two-tier system of justice” blather. But even among those celebrating what they consider to be righteous prosecutions, some can’t help themselves. They’re claiming that both the current federal trial and a second one that Hunter Biden faces in September in Los Angeles, on tax-evasion charges, are “rigged.”

Hunter Biden’s trial is “the opposite, really, of Donald Trump,” right-wing columnist Miranda Devine told Fox News. “The odds are stacked for Hunter Biden in this case.”


The investigation of Hunter began six years ago at the Trump Justice Department (without any bleating from Joe Biden about “weaponization of justice”). When the father became president, he kept in place the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney investigating his son, Republican David Weiss. When Hunter’s plea deal on gun and tax charges collapsed in July (quashed by a Trump-appointed judge), President Biden’s attorney general granted Weiss’ request to become a special counsel. As such, Weiss could bring charges against the son in any federal court. Blame him for choosing Bidenland, Delaware, and blue L.A.

Nothing about Hunter Biden’s humiliating legal predicament suggests odds-stacking by Joe Biden, Mastermind. And God love ’im, as Biden himself might say, for respecting the rule of law, even against his sole living son.

Jackie Calmes is an opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times in Washington, D.C.