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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Two Old Men

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun.  It is a fight between two very old men.

Jonathan V. Last: "When people say Biden is “old” what they mean is “frail.” Trump is functionally the same age as a Biden, with a much worse BMI and cognitive functioning. But because Trump can yell at the moon like a mad dog, people see him as “vigorous” and age isn’t a problem.

But Trump's behavior at trial may change perceptions.

President Biden has introduced a change to his White House departure and return routine. Instead of walking across the South Lawn to and from Marine One by himself, he's now often surrounded by aides.

Why it matters: With aides usually walking between Biden and journalists' camera position outside the White House, the visual effect is to draw less attention to the 81-year-old's halting and stiff gait.

Zoom in: Some Biden advisers have told Axios they're concerned that videos of Biden walking and shuffling alone — especially across the grass — have highlighted his age.Weeks ago the president told aides that he'd prefer a less formal approach, a White House official told Axios. He suggested that they walk with him.... By the numbers: In March, Biden's five walks to and from Marine One at the White House were by himself, or with family members.Starting April 16, Biden was joined by staff or lawmakers nine out of 10 times he walked to and from Marine One.

Between the lines: Biden resisted taking steps to account for his age early in his presidency, but has shifted gears recently.Besides the different footwear, he now enters Air Force One on a lower level, taking shorter stairs than the ones used on his early trips to climb to the plane's cabin. Biden also continues to do physical therapy and stretching exercises most days.
Among the heavily recurring topics in Trump’s private sniping this past week — according to the source, another person familiar with the situation, and a different Trumpworld figure briefed on the matter — is the former president’s bitterness towards New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who reported in print, online, and on CNN that Trump was visibly nodding off while in court. “He appeared to be asleep,” she told the network. “He didn’t pay attention to a note his lawyer passed him. His jaw kept falling on his chest, and his mouth kept going slack.”

The observation immediately went viral, provoking an irate denial from Trump’s campaign and reigniting the former president’s antipathy towards Haberman, who has been reporting on him for years. The resentment lasted the entire week, the sources add. It did not help Trump’s denial that he continued to doze off while seated in the Manhattan courtroom throughout the rest of the week. “Trump appears to have fallen asleep in court again,” Haberman wrote on Friday. “His eyes were closed for extended periods and his head dropped down twice.”

In recent conversations with Republican associates, Trump has repeatedly torn into Haberman and her CNN appearances, attacked her journalistic credentials, and bizarrely insisted that she was wrong about him falling asleep. Despite his dozing being widely reported, the former president has laid much of the blame for the detail going viral at Haberman’s feet. He was even observed glaring at her on Monday as he exited the courtroom following her CNN appearance.

It’s not just Haberman who’s been inflaming Trump during the first days of his criminal trial.

Trump has also privately asked people close to him if they agree that the courtroom sketch-artist must be out to get him, two of the sources say. Trump has critiqued the sketches of him that have circulated in the media this week, and insisted some of the images were likely drawn to make fun of him. One such sketch captured Trump snoozing, with his eyes closed and head tilted.