Jill Biden's influence raises questions about husband's fitness

 June 23, 2023

As her husband pursues a second term that nobody actually wants, Jill Biden is emerging as a top campaign surrogate and close adviser to the aging president, according to multiple reports.

The unusually prominent role played by the first lady is sure to draw attention to her husband's condition and raise questions about who's really in charge.

A former top adviser described Jill Biden as the president's "final gut check" when making decisions, Politico reported.

Biden commonly turns to his wife during meetings and asks for her input, the outlet said.

Jill Biden steps up

There's nothing shameful about a man consulting his wife for counsel, but in Biden's case, it's different.

One of the recurring images of the Biden era is that of the doddering president being guided in public by his wife, like a patient at a nursing home.

Last month, Biden dispatched his wife to Britain to attend the coronation of King Charles III. And the First Lady is expected to maintain an "intense" travel schedule in the months ahead, a departure from the norm for first ladies.

Biden's voice

With a husband who struggles to complete English sentences, Jill Biden is playing an increasingly important role in the court of public opinion.

Biden's utility was on full display this month as a voice for Biden on an issue he dares not touch: the federal indictment of Donald Trump.

The president hasn't said a word, wary of feeding into perceptions that he is targeting his political rival through the justice system. But his wife didn't hesitate to speak up at an event with rich donors in New York earlier this month.

"They don’t care about the indictment. So that’s a little shocking, I think,” she said, of so-called "MAGA Republicans," borrowing a term from her husband.

"Doctor" Jill works the crowd

While Democrats go through the motions of pretending to respect Biden, the admiration for his wife within party circles is, according to those in the know, genuinely felt.

The Biden campaign said she would be a "formidable presence," citing her "warmth and approachability."

Granted, when the president looks like he walked out of an Egyptian tomb, the bar for "warmth and approachability" isn't set very high.

For all her supposed virtues as a communicator, Jill Biden has also fallen victim to her own dim wittedness on occasion. She urged voters to clap during an applause line at a recent event, and she famously compared Latinos to breakfast tacos.

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