President Biden looked crestfallen early Wednesday when he stepped back on US soil amid a devastating election night for his party.
The 78-year-old commander in chief cast his eyes to the ground, his face etched with concern soon after stepping off Air Force One as the Democrats faced a series of crushing losses in expected strongholds.
Biden, whose public schedule is empty Wednesday, had already been in crisis last week when he jetted off for his five-day jaunt in Europe, with his poll numbers flagging and ongoing struggles to pass his $3 trillion plan for new government spending.
Before departing Europe for the trip back home Tuesday, the president conceded, “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week.”
Election Day Tuesday ended with races that should have been easy wins for Democrats.
Most dramatically, Republican Glenn Youngkin easily beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe to be governor of Virginia, a state Biden carried by 10 percentage points last year.
“The Conservative Comeback is HERE!” former Vice President Mike Pence tweeted late Tuesday as he congratulated Youngkin for a “HUGE victory!”
“We are one step closer to taking back the House in 2022 & bringing America all the way back!” he predicted.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley predicted Youngkin’s victory “could be a political earthquake.”
Gubernatorial election results hung in the balances early Wednesday in New Jersey, a state Biden carried by 16 points a year ago.
Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy — expected to be a shoo-in for the Democrats — remained virtually tied with Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli on Wednesday morning, with the pair less than 1 percentage point apart and 97 percent of precincts reporting.
While former President Trump gave credit to his supporters for the upset in Virginia, political commentators appeared certain that Biden’s disastrous leadership, especially in trying to pass his extreme spending plans, were to blame.
“The Democratic Party and Joe Biden were elected to solve problems, and all they’re doing is fighting about price tags,” Doug Herman, a lead strategist for Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, told Politico.
“If Congress doesn’t pass a bill soon so we can get out there and start campaigning on it, we’ve got nothing to run on,” he warned of the Democrats.
Despite potential catastrophe for him in the US, Biden clung to the belief that he had at least been a success in Europe, even while nodding off at important events.
“I can’t think of any two days where more has been accomplished on climate than these two days,” Biden insisted in a press conference before boarding Air Force One.
“We showed up. We showed up,” Biden said. “And by showing up we’ve had a profound impact, I think, on how the rest of the world is looking at the United States.”
With Post wires