Maybe it’s that Joe Biden lacks the charisma and stage presence that Pres. Ronald Reagan famously exhibited. Maybe it was Biden’s decision to reprise a joke that a predecessor told 33 years earlier and that former Vice Pres. Dick Cheney repeated in 2008. Maybe the sticking point is Biden’s mangling of the quote. Or maybe it’s the simple fact that telling jokes is not Biden’s forte (though most sane Americans would be hard-pressed to tell you what is).
Regardless of the reason, a video of the two presidents addressing a class of Coast Guard cadets — Reagan at 77 and in the last year of his presidency, Biden at 78 and in the first — has gone viral. The before-and-after clip provides a clinic to public speakers on what to do and not do. The text of the video can be found below.
Ronald Reagan, 77, versus Joe Biden, 78. pic.twitter.com/tDs1l1ke6d
— tsar becket adams (@BecketAdams) May 19, 2021
Ronald Reagan: My Coast Guard aides have been excellent. One of them taught me that, and I quote, “The Coast Guard is that hard nucleus about which the Navy forms in time of war.”
Joe Biden: I can only assume that you’ll enjoy educating your family about how the Coast Guard is, quote, “the hard nucleus around the Navy forms in times of war.” [Pause]. You’re a really dull class. Come on, man. Is the sun getting to you?
In fairness, Biden does get a rise out of the audience after he accuses them of being dull.
Then again, insulting members of the military is nothing new for him. In a 2016 address to U.S. troops stationed in the UAE, he said, “I have incredibly good judgment. One, I married Jill. And two, I appointed Johnson [the speaker who had proceeded him] to the academy. I just want you to know that.” When the comment was met with silence, he shouted, “Clap for that, you stupid bastards.” His remarks begin at 5:56 in the video that follows.
After the clip was viewed over 100,000 times, Politifact and Snopes leaped to Biden’s aid, explaining that he was “just joking.” When you rely on the “fact checkers” to explain your jokes, you probably shouldn’t be telling any.