President Biden’s top science adviser, Dr. Eric Lander, has handed in his resignation in the wake of a scathing report that detailed his abuse of staff members at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). And yet Lander was not pushed; he quit, begging the question of whether Joe Biden takes his own words regarding treating people with respect seriously.
It seems Lander didn’t get the memo on decency and dignity. A recent White House internal inquiry found that he bullied his subordinates. “The investigation found credible evidence of instances of multiple women having complained to other staff about negative interactions with Dr. Lander, where he spoke to them in a demeaning or abrasive way in front of other staff,” explained Christian Peele, deputy director of management and administration for personnel at the White House, in an audio recording obtained by Politico.
But that was not enough for Biden to fire him. In fact, after consultation with Lander, the White House accepted his profuse apology and set out a plan to ensure better working relations and a number of “corrective actions” he must make to his behavior. And then Lander handed in his resignation.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded on behalf of the president in a statement, saying, “The president accepted Dr. Eric Lander’s resignation letter this evening with gratitude for his work at OSTP on the pandemic, the Cancer Moonshot, climate change, and other key priorities.” She concluded, “He knows that Dr. Lander will continue to make important contributions to the scientific community in the years ahead.”
Not quite the immediate firing promised by the president.
Who’s Buying What Biden’s Selling?
When the president took office back on Jan. 20, he threatened to fire any White House employee “on the spot” who talks down to or in general disrespects another. But respect is just a buzzword for Biden – a way to signal his virtue to whoever will buy it – nothing more. If it has any meaning beyond that, the commander-in-chief has some folks to cut loose – including himself.
“But I am not joking when I say this, if you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect … talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,” the president said as he swore in his appointees. “On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts. Everybody … everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity. That’s been missing in a big way the last four years.”
Anyone who believed the statement – even then – hasn’t paid the man much attention. But a line like that is destined to draw eyes to anyone bold or foolish enough to utter it. And Biden hasn’t lived up to his own standard any better than his staff. As Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides reported, the commander-in-chief called Peter Doocy of Fox News a “stupid son of a b—-” while taking questions from the press. And that’s just the most recent example. Even as a presidential candidate, the elder statesman was prone to lash out and insult people over the smallest offenses. At an event in Iowa back in February 2020, Biden called a voter a liar and fat, then challenged him to a push-up competition. He told another to “go vote for someone else,” then called a young woman a “lying, dog-faced pony soldier.”
When he was heckled at a campaign stop back in 1987, Biden lashed out and told the person – who happened to be a teacher – “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect.” Then he lied about going to law school on a full academic scholarship and said he graduated in the top half of his class and earned three undergraduate degrees. None of those claims were anything but what we might call – in honor of his campaign slogan – malarkey.
Birds of a Feather
According to reports from her staff, Vice President Kamala Harris isn’t much better of a boss than Lander. Back in the summer of 2021, an unnamed employee told Politico about the toxic environment. At that point, several had already resigned, less than six months into the job. Things haven’t gotten better since then. Harris’ press director, Peter Velz, announced Jan. 5, 2022, that he was leaving for a job with the State Department. He is the seventh aide to abandon Harris since the summer. Shortly beforehand, staffer Vince Evans announced he was leaving to take an executive director role with the Congressional Black Caucus. Back in December, the VP’s former chief spokesperson, Symone Sanders, called it quits as well – and communications director Ashley Etienne left in November. It was in December that an unnamed Harris staffer called the nation’s second in command a bully who inflicted constant soul-destroying criticism.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is also known as a terrible boss. It has been suggested by former employees that she regularly yelled at staffers over trivial things and even throws stuff at them. She also allegedly sabotages anyone who tries to move on by calling the new employers and trying to have the job offers revoked. Her reputation was so well known that she reportedly had trouble staffing her presidential campaign!
For Joe Biden and many of his Democrat colleagues, treating people with respect is little more than a process of virtue signaling. His administration has talked a good game on championing equality and fairness, but time and time again, actions have failed to support such bold statements.
~ Read more from James Fite.