Will Biden be America’s Philippe Pétain?

So strong was the media’s desire to get rid of Trump, that they suspended all criticism of the cognitive decline of his successor

Artillery Row

The quite extraordinary outburst of rejoicing among bien pensant leftists and liberals following the distinctly dubious election of Joe Biden reflects not only their loathing of Donald Trump, but their desire for someone – anyone will do – who can bottle up the powerful forces that Trump unleashed.

So strong was the media’s desire to get rid of Trump, that they suspended all their critical faculties and suppressed the shabby truths about the career, character, and above all the cognitive decline of his successor. For it is blindingly obvious that not only is Biden the shop soiled and corrupt product of half a century of dirty Democratic machine politics on the Hill, but he is clearly suffering from the early stages of senile dementia.

Biden is not the first President to have his health issues deliberately hidden by a craven media

A few minutes’ internet research into clips from the Presidential campaign reveals more than enough evidence of the decaying mental powers of the next President. This is a man who confuses his wife with his sister; thinks he is running for the Senate rather than the Presidency; mixes up his dead son with a young woman; believes his opponent is someone called “George”; and cannot recall the founding maxim of the US that every American schoolchild knows: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness”.

Biden is not the first Democratic President to have his health issues deliberately hidden by a craven and compliant media. Woodrow Wilson suffered a devastating stroke in October 1919 which left him paralysed on one side, blind in one eye and mentally confused. In the final months of his time in office, unknown to the public, the Presidency was actually run by his second wife Edith and his physician, which didn’t stop him unsuccessfully trying for a third term in the White House.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s political career was interrupted in 1921 by an attack of Polio that left him paralysed from the waist down. The truth of his condition was carefully hidden from the public; and Roosevelt appeared in public standing supported by metal leg braces, and with his wife or son propping him up by his side. In private, Roosevelt was confined to a wheelchair. When he ran for the Presidency in 1932, journalists were forbidden from publishing photos of FDR in his wheelchair, and his staff tried to destroy pictures by snappers who defied the ban. This grand deception helped him win an unprecedented four terms in office, as it was thought that voters would never elect a paralysed President.

John F. Kennedy had multiple severe health problems including suffering from back injuries sustained in World War Two, compelling him to wear a corset, and Addison’s Disease – a debilitating deficiency of the hormone producing adrenal glands for which he had to take a cocktail of mood changing drugs. Again, all this – along with his frenzied secret sex life – was hidden from the US public by both his loyal Secret Service bodyguards and an adoring White House press corps.

In the age of the internet, social media, and an intrusive 24 hour news cycle, it is impossible to keep embarrassing secrets as effectively as in those more discreet and deferential past times, although the mainstream media in both the US and the UK have done their level best to keep the spotlight off Mr Biden’s obvious deficiencies. They have allowed their political prejudices and hatred of the current President to “trump” their duty to report the sad facts about the mental competence of their chosen candidate.

Pétain exhibited the same symptoms of mental deterioration that Joe Biden is already showing

The closest comparison to an elderly and senile leader taking over a state lies not in US history but in that of France. In the summer of 1940 84-year-old Marshal Philippe Pétain stepped forward to take the helm of a France defeated by Nazi Germany. Pétain, a hero of the First World War, though physically robust, was mentally already in his dotage. One of his Ministers said he was only alert for three hours a day; he regularly signed documents he didn’t understand; and couldn’t recall the Spanish envoy to Vichy France who Pétain had known well when he was France’s ambassador to Franco’s Spain. In short, the Marshal exhibited the same symptoms of mental deterioration that Joe Biden is already showing at the age of almost 78.

1940: French Marshal Henri Philippe Petain (1856 – 1951), a hero of the First World War becomes premier of France following the resignation of Paul Reynaud. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

In Petain’s case, the political results of his softening brain were disastrous. Petain was easily manipulated by the hard men around him favouring full-blown collaboration with the Nazis; Vichy France became a vassal state of Hitler’s Germany; thousands of French Jews were deported to their deaths; and the state he presided over became a byword for fascism, cruelty, treason and humiliation that has bedevilled France almost to the present day.

Although the differences between Pétain’s France and Biden’s America are obviously immense, the same dangers of an incapacitated puppet being manipulated and controlled by more ruthless figures around him are equally glaringly obvious. Pity the kingdom whose king is a child, and the republic whose President is entering his second childhood.

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