President Biden is no stranger to gaffes at the podium and while some might brush them off, one former Obama administration official is now warning they are undermining the US’s “standing” on the global stage.
Brett Bruen, a former foreign service officer who served as former President Barack Obama’s director of global engagement from 2013 to 2015, wrote in a Tuesday op-ed for USA Today that he used to “cringe” whenever Biden took the podium as vice president.
“Despite all the preparation that went into an event and his remarks, as a staffer on the National Security Council, you never quite knew what he might say,” Bruen wrote.
“At times, his offhanded comments could spice up what otherwise would be a pretty boring policy address. Yet, there were other times, too many times, when it could veer into dangerous terrain.”
The ex-Obama official wrote these “reckless riffs have continued during his presidency,” citing several remarks made regarding diplomacy, including Biden’s comment on the “inevitability” that Kabul, Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban and how he asserted earlier this year that Russian President Vladimir Putin “should be removed from power.”
While Bruen said the president “bears the lion share of blame for his ill-considered improvisation,” he also blasted Biden’s national security team, which he said appeared to not have “adequately prepared him for what ought to be obvious questions.”
Bruen also criticized the administration’s repeated clarifications of the president’s comment, saying it causes “hours and even days of uncomfortable silence of inadequate clarifications.”
Specifically, he pointed to one of the most recent clarifications, when the White House walked back comments from Biden implying the US would aid Taiwan if the island nation came under attack from China.
It was the third the White House has clarified or downplayed Biden’s firm stance in support of Taiwan in 9 months.
“Should the president suggest we are ready to fight for Taiwan, here’s how we should describe that strategy, balancing both the reality of his remarks and the current position of our policy,” Bruen wrote. “But we should not pretend they don’t exist.”
As the White House has continued to walk back on many of the president’s remarks, Biden has reportedly grown frustrated with his team for making his statements that have been seen as unreliable.
“The president rightfully worries that they are undermining the power of his words,” Bruen wrote Tuesday, but still suggested Biden’s beliefs are “outdated.”
“This is an extraordinarily dangerous time for the United States and our allies. It requires a strong and consistent level of diplomatic discipline. I fear that anything less could lead us unnecessarily into a conflict, whether with China, Iran, Russia or North Korea,” the former foreign service officer later added.
“At the very least, from our own hemisphere to the Asia Pacific region, we have unnecessarily undermined our standing and irresponsibly handed propaganda points to our adversaries. Something needs to fundamentally change in how this White House deals with diplomacy.”
Bruen suggested that Biden “reset” his entire national security team – specifically calling for the removal of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan – saying Biden’s team has “repeatedly shown an inability to execute and to staff him effectively.”
“We need more experienced leaders who can speak truth to power and implement our foreign policy without so many fumbles.”
The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.