A Bruising First Year for President Biden

On Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden took the stage and was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America, kicking off what was destined to be a new era of American unity, prosperity and leadership. One year later, the American people only have one thing to say: C’mon man!

According to Reuters, after one year in office, Biden’s overall approval rating has fallen 14 points from where he started. Additionally, the Associated Press finds that less than half of his own party wants him to run for re-election. After a brief boost from an anti-Donald Trump movement, America has quickly grown disenchanted with the new president following an ineffective COVID-19 strategy, a failing economic policy, a worsening border crisis, a constant stream of foreign policy woes and a total disconnect with the American people.

Runaway inflation, rising gas prices and a struggling job market rocked the American economy. In 2021, the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index, a popular measure of the price of goods and services, saw its greatest leap since 1981 at 5.8%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. President Biden regularly fails to meet job projections of the economic community by startling margins. In April, 266,000 jobs were created, nearly 750,000 jobs short of the 1 million jobs projected by Dow Jones, according to Market Watch. In addition to inconsistent job returns, a record-smashing number of Americans are quitting their jobs, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which Biden rationalizes by claiming it’s because “Americans are moving up to better jobs, with better pay, with better benefits.” This boast contradicts the reality that, in 2021, real wages have actually decreased by 2.4%, according to the BLS.

It makes sense that Biden crawled out of 2021 with the lowest economic approval rating of any new president since at least 1977, according to a CNN poll in November. This is especially significant because the economy was the biggest priority of American voters in the 2020 election, according to both Pew and Gallup.

Biden heavily campaigned on his foreign policy experience, so some Americans were hopeful that he would improve America’s global image. But these hopes were quickly dashed following his botched withdrawal from the Afghanistan War, which led to widespread condemnation from our strategic allies and European leaders.

Despite the fact that America’s exit was negotiated by his predecessor, and that he oversaw the war for eight years as vice president, Biden initially assumed total credit for the withdrawal. But he was happy to return credit to former President Trump after the execution was marred by a grocery list of logistical blunders, the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemen, the accidental bombing of a Kabul family and the nearly instantaneous collapse of the Afghan Government.

Across his campaign, President Biden projected an image of himself as a rival to Russian President Vladimir Putin, regularly disparaging former President Trump for his perceived over-friendliness towards Russia. Biden, as a candidate, vowed that Putin would “pay a price” for prior election interference. The American people saw a total change of face when Biden stepped into the Oval Office. At a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conference in June of 2021, President Biden walked back his previous comments about President Putin, including that he was a “killer.” He swapped out his muscular campaign trail rhetoric to describe the Russian leader as “bright,” “tough” and a “worthy adversary.”

President Biden waived sanctions against the controversial Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, mere months after having nixed the American Keystone XL Pipeline. He has also been largely inactive on the perceived “imminent” threat of a Russian campaign into Ukraine, even as an estimated 100,000 Russian soldiers have amassed near the nation’s border for a period of weeks. He has rejected any possibility of mobilizing U.S. troops, and has left diplomats scrambling after curiously offering that the severity of the American response would depend on whether Russia led an “invasion” or a so-called “minor incursion.”

Perhaps more disappointing to many Americans, President Biden has wildly underdelivered on his promise to “shut down the virus.” Despite inheriting three working vaccines and a better understanding of the virus, President Biden oversaw more deaths in a shorter period of time than his predecessor. Many health experts have criticized his under-prioritization of testing. Prior to a massive testing shortage over the holidays, the White House rejected an October plan to ramp up the manufacture of at-home testing kits and distribute them to American households. Biden only took action months later in seemingly direct response to his critics, who had disparaged White House Speaker Jen Psaki for mocking similar ideas. Psaki was widely rebuked after sarcastically asking reporters, “Should we just send one to every American?” But by this point, the long overdue testing rollout was made all the more complicated by a persisting supply chain crisis.

There was an idealistic belief among many voters that President Biden’s experience with the Ebola virus would aid him against the pandemic. But with his incoherent messaging, flip-flopping guidelines and generally poor planning, cases and deaths have run their natural course unchecked.

The president has even failed to make any headway on his pledge to “unify” the nation and bridge its steep partisan divide. According to the previously mentioned Associated Press study, 44% of Americans predicted that he would deliver on this promise. But a year into his presidency, only 16% of Americans actually find that the nation is less divided. Ironically, the only thing he may have united the American people on is understanding that he has failed them.

His presidency has overall been one of broken promises. Despite pledging to curb Trump-era immigration policies, detentions of illegal immigrants were up almost 56% from the start of his presidency by October. Moreover, one year later, his platitudes of broad student debt forgiveness remain unfulfilled.

It would appear that the president is wholly cognizant of his cratering popularity, as much as he professes otherwise. He has shied away from the spotlight as much as possible, spending more time on personal travel than any previous American president in their inaugural year according to Newsweek, and holding less than half the number of press conferences as his last five predecessors according to Daily Mail.

It would be impossible to encapsulate all of the president’s failures in a single article, but the polls speak for themselves: President Biden has forfeited America’s faith. Some Americans had high hopes for the perceived experienced administration. But as we look back, the best that can be said of Joe Biden’s first year in office is that it’s over.