Did George Santos’s communications team take over public relations for the Biden administration?
The drip-drip-drip nature of the revelations over Garagegate goes contrary to the standard playbook that dictates the release of information all at once when few pay attention. Instead of coming out, say, the Friday night before Christmas, this story hit the public in waves at a time when so little distracts.
We learned Monday of papers found at the Penn Biden Center. CBS News reported on “roughly 10 documents.” Then, later in the week, we learned of more state secrets kept in the garage, the place where people keep their junk but, rest assured, the president keeps his prized possession.
“My Corvette’s in a locked garage,” Joe Biden told Fox News Channel’s Peter Ducey. “Okay? So, it’s not like they’re sitting out on the street.”
Subsequent to this damaging damage-control statement Thursday, the public learned of an additional classified document found inside his private residence.
We did not get the pictures the Justice Department publicized when they raided Mar-a-Lago. But we get the picture. So did Attorney General Merrick Garland, who named special counsel to investigate the matter.
The Chinese water torture, strangely inflicted on the very people administering it, continued.
By midweek, the normally steady Karine Jean-Pierre appeared flustered and ready to ready her resume.
“You don’t need to be contentious with me here, Ed,” a frustrated press secretary lectured Ed O’Keefe of CBS News when he asked questions after not receiving answers on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the White House briefing room that as of late resembled a booster section began to take on the characteristics of a peanut gallery.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” CNN’s Phil Mattingly told KJP of her labeling “complete” the document drip. “If the review was underway the entire time, the only difference was that reporters had information on the first set of documents and therefore you chose to exclude the second set of documents until reporters got information on the second set of documents.”
“Well, let me unconfuse you for a second, Phil,” she said, before piling on sentences designed to further confuse matters.
Peter Doocy of Fox News asked, “How could anyone be that irresponsible?” KJP responded to Doocy using Biden’s words about Trump against him with what commentator Elizabeth Stauffer described as a “death stare.”
She stonewalled as she boasted about the administration’s transparency, shifted to weaksauce reporters with innocuous questions when the heat from other journalists grew intolerable, and repeatedly answered questions not asked with canned, non sequitur responses.
READ MORE from Daniel J. Flynn: Shh! Shh! The Classified Story of the Pot-Kettle-Black President
Whatever the seriousness of the underlying alleged crime, the handling of it seems unpardonable. The White House knew of this story on November 2. For obvious reasons, the administration kept this a secret until after the election. The gap between the day after Election Day and Monday feels inexplicable.
Did they hide this matter for another two months hubristically believing the story might magically evaporate because of a courtier press and a Justice Department that went from #Resistance to triple-heart emojis upon Biden’s inauguration?
The problem grows worse for the president because of two issues, both created by the administration. First, opacity drives curiosity. For one instance among many, saying his personal lawyers stumbled on the documents begs journalists to inquire about how they knew where to look. Second, sanctimony drives mockery. In banana republic fashion, Biden’s Justice Department raided the home of his political rival and then the president performed a touchdown dance on 60 Minutes. “How that could possibly happen,” he said of what thoughts those Mar-a-Lago, documents-strewn-on-a-rug pictures inspired, “how anyone could be that irresponsible, and I thought what data was in there that might compromise sources and methods. By that I mean, names of people who helped, et cetera. And it’s just totally irresponsible.”
He made a meme of himself. He did so knowing himself guilty of the same disregard of law of which he accused his political enemy.
Biden told reporters, “People know I take classified documents and classified material seriously.” But the listeners heard the omitted comma: “People know I take classified documents and material, seriously.”