It’s The Senility Stupid

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Biden asleep at COP26

He might well have hoped for better.  Foreign trips are usually a joyous if brief respite from quotidian concerns.  The work has all been done in preparation, the decisions, such as they are, forgone conclusions.  Turn up, smile, do the elder statesman schtick, answer a few easy questions and off for a slap-up feed courtesy of the hosts.  Bathe in the balmy warmth of world publicity.  These are the moments you have worked all those years for.

Sadly, for sleepy Joe it just refused to work out that way.  Mind you he did what a lot of leaders do which is to pack in two or three venues to make it extra worth while. One has got to work? Right? Right?

The G20 started off on a stumble with several countries only fielding their “B” team to attend.  B teams never agree to interesting solutions or ground breaking policy the press can chew over so that was one down.  Refusniks including Putin and President Xi who Biden is just so, so desperate to connect with.  The great leader of the free world cut a lonely aged figure creaking out of the official car looking every bit the old man.  He even missed the group hug throwing coins in the Trevi fountain.  Poor optics when the cameras are not US controlled.

Friday also saw the much anticipated meeting with the Pope.  Now this really should have been a doddle.  Joe is a catholic and they have both met before.  Surely they could manage a dance for the cameras?  But as meetings went it was most odd.  First off it went on forever!  A full hour and a half! Obama only had a 45 minute session, Trump was shoved out after a mere half hour – what was going on?  There was no back slapping jollity afterwards, no smiling bonhomie for the cameras, and what we did see was a very stiff uncomfortable Biden and a pontiff with a look of genuine pastoral concern on his face.

What could have happened – for clearly SOMETHING had.  Sadly, I cannot tell you what it was that happened, even my contacts do not reach so high, but the talk around Rome (and it is all round Rome in hundreds of posts) is that Biden had a “toilet malfunction”.  Poo-tus indeed had shat himself a treat in the papal palace which had resulted in a considerable delay whilst they cleaned him up, checked he wasn’t going to drop dead on them, and fetched the spare suit and undergunders from the car.  The cause has been endlessly debated but a sort of consensus has settled on his being prescribed something like say Donepezil used to treat dementia but which can also loosen the bowels.  Given that dementia often induces diarrhoea in sufferers anyway and the media thinks they have it sussed. Rumour is of course not fact…but in the absence of the usual W.H. media fodder it has gained great ground with little effective push back from the White House.  If this ends up being what people end up talking about it was a disaster.

As an interesting coda to this scatological story we may care to note from a number of British newspapers this Sunday that Camilla Prince Charles wife has not stopeped laughing about Biden’s long, loud and prolonged episode of loud windy effusion in her presence during their meeting at COP26 in Glasgow last week. Its a story that’s lingering. So was the problem at the Vatican that of not controlling the follow through from exhibition farting? We should be told.


Still back to Glasgow and COP26.  Sadly he seemed to be the only big leader there, China and Russia, Brazil and Turkey giving it the body swerve – and he could not convince anyone he could get any policies through his own legislature.  This has since changed but last week his position looked very weak. He enhanced this sense of being redundant when he fell asleep on camera.  Old, ineffectual, alone.  Oh, and when his enormous eighty-five vehicle fossil fuel guzzling convoy rolled down the local Zil lane with an appalling lack of self-awareness (this was at a climate conference remember!) they were seen being photographed by a large, rather fat, totally naked Scotsman!

All in all, not a great weekend on the diplomacy circuit.

And then home to the results from Virginia.  

And people think he is going to make it to the mid-terms? 

Copyright David Macadam 2021