This week’s White House Report Card finds President Joe Biden suffering through a cold passed on by his grandson, a mixed jobs report, a new coronavirus variant sweeping the nation, and his vice president stumbling through her latest string of staff implosions.
Nothing really went right for Biden, though pollster John Zogby, in grading a C, suggested that the president’s approval rating might have reached its bottom.
The week was notable for the spread of the new omicron coronavirus variant and a jobs report that saw one-third of the expected 600,000 created, but a lower unemployment rate. And his White House is dealing with a side story of continued disarray in the vice president’s office, described in a critical Washington Post story as one of many in her career.
Conservative grader Jed Babbin noted that Biden’s border bumbling has become so bad that he’s had to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program that forces migrants to wait for approval before crossing into the United States.
It was another period of weakness and confusion for the Biden administration, best evidenced by the president’s remark, "I’ve seen more of Dr. Fauci than I have my wife. … Who's president? Fauci! But all kidding aside, I sincerely mean it.” Huh? Well, at least he’s able to distinguish between Dr. Jill and Dr. Fauci.
Biden, having called Trump’s coronavirus travel ban xenophobic, imposed his own on eight African nations in response to the new omicron COVID-19 variant. It was a good move tarnished only by Biden’s own words. Similarly, the Biden regime, compelled by a court order, began to reimplement Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” plan that requires most asylum-seekers to wait outside the U.S. while their applications for political asylum are decided. (About 70% are found to be bogus.)
The revelation that about $175 billion in pandemic unemployment benefits fell into the hands of foreign fraudsters roiled Congress for at least 10 minutes. It should be a lesson applied to Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan and the already-passed infrastructure legislation, but it won’t be. Biden and company continue to insist that the BBB bill won’t cost a dime. Right. Maybe the foreign scammers can raise the cost to a trillion dollars this time around.
The Congressional Budget Office determined that the BBB legislation would grant amnesty to at least 6 million illegal immigrants. That’s probably one of Biden’s biggest priorities.
Meanwhile, Biden’s pursuit of a revived Iran nuclear weapons deal continues. Iran, which won’t negotiate directly, is taunting Biden to “earn” a seat at the table by granting Iran sanctions relief. Inconvenient facts, such as the country passing the limits on uranium enrichment in the 2015 deal, make it harder, but not impossible, for Biden to cave in and get a new deal.
New polls show Biden moving up a point or two in his approval ratings. His average is at 42%, but the latest polls place him between 43% and 46%.
The Labor Department's report showed 210,000 jobs created last month, well below what economists expected, but the overall unemployment rate was 4.2%, and wages have risen 4.6%.
Congress averted a government shutdown, and the House passed the "Build Back Better" legislation. But the president is dogged by new and growing cases of COVID-19, the refusal of a solid bloc who refuse to be vaccinated, and now, a new variant of the virus spreading.
He is the guy at the top, and voters have lost patience. However, his numbers are stabilizing for now.
Jed Babbin is a Washington Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in the administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His weekly podcast with son and partner Jeremy Zogby can be heard here. Follow him on Twitter @ZogbyStrategies