“As Biden approaches his second Fourth of July in the White House, his standing couldn’t be more different. A series of miscalculations and unforeseen challenges have Biden struggling for footing as he faces a potentially damaging verdict from voters in the upcoming midterm elections. Even problems that weren’t Biden’s fault have been fuel for Republican efforts to retake control of Congress,” The Associated Press report said.
The report described the president’s speech, during which he declared the U.S. to be “closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus.”
However, weeks later, the delta variant caused mask mandates to be reinstated and prompted “polarizing vaccination mandates.”
“That sunny speech one year ago marked a crossroads for Biden’s presidency. The pandemic appeared to be waning, the economy was booming, inflation wasn’t rising as quickly as today and public approval of his job performance was solid,” authors Chris Megerian and Zeke Miller wrote.
The report also noted the “debacle” surrounding the president’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.
The report described Biden as “suddenly a reactive president,” who “has been left trying to reclaim the initiative at every step.”
The AP noted that their latest approval rating poll had Biden sitting at just 39%. In a July 2021 poll, the president’s approval rating was 59%.
The president has consistently blamed high gas prices and skyrocketing inflation on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic. An Axios reporter said in April that Biden’s economic accomplishments were “largely irrelevant” amid high inflation and gas prices.
Former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said Friday that things were “out of control” and that the president does not appear to be “in command.”
The president is also facing criticism from his party for his response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case. Some Democrats argued that Biden’s remarks were not enough and that the president needed more fight.
Historian Douglas Brinkley compared the president’s July 4 speech to former President George Bush’s “Mission accomplished” remarks.
“He was trying to deliver good news but it didn’t pan out for him,” Brinkley told the AP. “Suddenly, Biden lost a lot of good will.”
CNN medical analyst and George Washington University professor Leana Wen told the outlet that Biden’s 2021 speech was premature, but that this year the country was in a better place.
“The administration is hesitant to make those proclamations now, when actually this is the time to do so,” she said.
The Biden White House is struggling with its messaging ahead of the midterm elections as inflation and high gas prices continue to be top concerns for voters.
“President Bill Clinton stumbled through his first two years in office, then faced a wave of Republican victories in his first midterm elections. But he later became the first Democratic president to be re-elected since Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” AP’s report said.