As he gears up for reelection, President Joe Biden is already facing questions about his ability to convince voters that the economy is performing well. There’s skepticism about the 80-year-old president’s ability to manage a second term. And on Friday, Biden faced a fresh setback when Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to probe his son, Hunter, APA reports citing Associated Press.
Biden’s challenges pale in comparison to his predecessor and possible future rival, Donald Trump, who is facing three criminal indictments, with additional charges expected soon. But the appointment of the special counsel was nonetheless a reminder of the vulnerabilities facing Biden as he wages another election campaign in a deeply uncertain political climate.
There was little immediate sign that Garland’s decision meaningfully changed Biden’s standing within his party. If anything, it underscored the unprecedented nature of the next election. Rather than a battle of ideas waged on the traditional campaign trail, the next push for the presidency may be shaped by sudden legal twists in courtrooms from Washington to Delaware and Miami.
Polling has consistently shown that Democratic voters were not excited about Biden’s reelection even before Garland’s announcement.
Just 47% of Democrats wanted Biden to run again in 2024, according to an AP-NORC poll conducted in April. Democrats’ enthusiasm for Biden’s presidential campaign has consistently trailed behind Republicans’ enthusiasm for Trump’s: 55% of Republicans said they wanted Trump to run again in the AP-NORC poll. And Biden’s approval ratings, at 40% in the most recent Gallup poll, are lower than virtually every other president in the modern era save Jimmy Carter.
Garland announced Friday that he was naming David Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Delaware, as the special counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation. It comes as plea deal talks involving tax and gun charges in the case Weiss had already been probing hit an impasse.