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Joe Biden Is Shocked—SHOCKED—That Republicans Didn’t Change Everything About Themselves Post-Trump

He's still waiting on that GOP "epiphany."

Joe Biden gestures and looks surprised while giving a speech from a podium.

President Joe Biden is celebrating the one-year anniversary of his inauguration by reminding us all of his extreme naivete in the face of Republican villainy.

“I did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done,” Biden said during a press conference Wednesday, reflecting on Republicans’ dedication to keeping him from making legislative progress over the last year.

Throughout Biden’s presidential campaign, he repeatedly insisted that once Donald Trump was out of office, Republican lawmakers would have an “epiphany” and go back to being nice and fair human beings, dedicating themselves to bipartisanship and common decency.

When Trump is gone, Biden promised donors at one fundraiser in 2019, “you’re going to begin to see things change. Because these folks,” meaning Republicans, “know better. They know this isn’t what they’re supposed to be doing.”

It was a weird statement to make and left a lot of us wondering if he actually believed what he was saying. Was he, as The Daily Beast put it at the time, “being naive or … willfully selling voters on a political fairytale”?

It sure seems like he really was that naive, as one year into his presidency, he’s expressing surprise that that “epiphany” never happened.

“Did any of you think that we’d get to a point where not a single Republican would diverge on a major issue? Not one?” Biden asked during Wednesday’s press conference.

Yes, Joe, we did! Largely because we were already there—a fact that Biden genuinely appears to have missed because he also seems to think this behavior is new. According to Biden, when he was Vice President, Republicans  “weren’t really as obstructionist as they are now.”

Biden is absolutely right when he says that Republicans don’t have a platform beyond stopping him and other Democrats from passing legislation. “I, honest to God, don’t know what they’re for,” Biden said and he’s right.

But it’s ludicrous to say that that obstructionism is worse or more single-minded than it was when Barack Obama was president and truly makes one wonder how Biden has such a naive view of Republicans, Trump, and the political landscape in general.

Here’s what I wrote back in 2019 regarding Biden’s promise of a GOP “epiphany”:

Republicans did everything they could to take presidential power away from Obama. Mitch McConnell refused to engage in bipartisanship. He refused to allow Obama to appoint a Supreme Court Justice, making up rules and moving goalposts as it suited him and his party. Republicans oversaw massive voter suppression in 2016. All of that happened before Trump took office. Donald Trump is not the problem with the Republican Party; he’s a symptom of the rot that’s been growing for decades. If Joe Biden doesn’t believe that–if he truly thinks everything will go back to “normal” once Trump is out of office–then he really is delusional.

Biden is not responsible for the GOP’s refusal to focus on literally anything besides standing in Democrats’ way but he is responsible for his own inability to take their obstructionism seriously. By claiming this was all a product of Trump rather the pathway to Trump does absolutely nothing to help lay a path out of this place.

On top of all of that, claiming that Republicans are worse now than they were when he was Vice President indicates that he’s oblivious to the role racism played in fueling the political chasm that grew to such destructive proportions under Obama, as well as the ways in which racism so insidiously permeates the entirety of politics today.

It’s nice having a president who is, in so many ways, an idealist. But it doesn’t help any of us to have a president so oblivious to the realities of the current Republican party.

(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.