As the 2020 election approached, efforts to discredit Joe Biden ran rampant. Far beyond any effort to tout any actual positive outcomes that might be claimed from Donald Trump’s first (as it wasn’t yet known to be his only) term, the GOP worked to attack the image of his opponent, and his family.
In the public eye, there were images of Biden with his daughter, spun to suggest that he was somehow behaving inappropriately. We’d heard for years that Trump had said things suggesting inappropriate feelings towards his own daughter, Ivanka. Washington Post has a collection here — including his comments about how he’d date her if she wasn’t his child, and a lament about being unable, by Ivanka’s edict, to date girls younger than her (she was 17 at the time).
Naturally, the GOP responded with propaganda suggesting that Joe Biden’s lifeguard experience somehow indicated an inappropriate relationship with the children he was protecting, and, as Snopes reports, a photo of Biden with his daughter Ashley, then aged 6, was misrepresented as somehow dirty and inappropriate.
There was no aspect of Biden’s family life Republicans wouldn’t stoop to attacking, and according to the New York Times, in a phone call from South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, the reason was stated starkly. Graham called to apologize for attacking Hunter Biden before the election, explaining to Biden, then the President-Elect, that he “had done only the bare minimum to satisfy Trump supporters.”
This comes from the same Graham who criticized Trump openly before the 2016 election, then embraced Trumpism thoroughly throughout his term.
Mostly, it exemplifies what these political attacks are about: not about any real concern, but about playing to a base, and behaving in a nasty enough way to appeal to the angriest of Trump supporters.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com