Opinion | The Question President Biden Needs to Ask Himself. Now. – The New York Times

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

Opinion | The Question President Biden Needs to Ask Himself. Now. – The New York Times

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Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist
Immediately after Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7, I urged Israel to think about how to respond by asking itself one question: What does your worst enemy want you to do? Then do the opposite. Iran and Hamas wanted Israel to rush headlong into Gaza — without any plan or Palestinian partner for the morning after — and unfortunately, Israel did just that.
At this moment of incredible importance for America and the Democratic Party, I would urge President Biden, his family and his party’s leadership to ask the same question: What does your worst enemy, Donald Trump, want you to do now? Then do the opposite.
Trump is salivating at the prospect of Biden staying in the presidential race so he can pummel him from now until Election Day with 15-second television and radio ads — not to mention memes on social media — of Biden’s incoherent responses in last week’s debate, each ad asking: Is this the man you want answering the phone at 3 a.m. if the Russians or the Chinese or the Iranians attack us?
That is a campaign the Trump G.O.P. cult is surely confident it can win. I suspect that the cultists have known all along that the only reason that Trump was leading in many key polls was so many potential Biden voters were not worried about price inflation; they were worried about age inflation — Biden’s. And if the Republicans could make that the issue, the election would fall into their laps.
So, what keeps Trump up at 3 a.m.? My guess is a scenario where Biden turns to his family and his top advisers and pulls out a line from the musical “Hamilton”:
George Washington: I’m stepping down. I’m not running for president.
Alexander Hamilton: I’m sorry, what?
Washington: One last time. Relax, have a drink with me. One last time. Let’s take a break tonight. And then we’ll teach them how to say goodbye.
Yes, what Trump fears most right now is that Biden will teach the country how to say goodbye.
He fears that Biden will demonstrate the difference between a leader and a party who put the country first and a leader and a party who put themselves first, namely Trump and the Republicans who enable him despite knowing how many of Trump’s former advisers say he is unfit for office, despite knowing that Trump tried to overturn the last election, despite knowing that Trump has articulated no real plan for the country’s future other than “retribution” against all who crossed him and his followers.
How might Biden do what is best for the country and worst for Trump — a small man at a big time who is so unwilling to say goodbye that he will not even admit he lost the election in 2020 fair and square? Not by scrambling to shift a few panicky donors to his side to tough it out until November, insisting that he just had one bad debate night. And not by daring the party to remove him. He should elevate himself and the party above the whole fray.
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