Seeing a member of the media catch Joe Biden in a gotcha moment is something of a rarity these days,
During a town hall, Biden was asked by Yahoo’s Editor in Chief Daniel Klaidman if he would pledge not to fire any inspectors general, or support legislation preventing a president from firing an inspector general. The question being a reference to Trump’s ouster of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.
“Yes, yes, yes!” Biden emphatically replied. “Inspector generals were designed to make government honest. To keep it honest. It’s a gigantic government. We have a thousand employees. You know, it’s part of a troubling pattern since this whole COVID crisis began, Trump firing nonpartisan officials…”
After finishing his rambling, Klaidman followed up, “I’ve got to point out that early in his term President Obama fired the AmeriCorps inspector, uhh, General Gerald Walpin, who was reportedly investigating one of his political supporters. In retrospect, was that a mistake?”
Biden was clearly unprepared for this question and claimed to have no memory of the incident. “I don’t recall that but, but I will tell you what. I don’t ever remember the president deciding that someone being investigated was inappropriate,” Biden replied.
Joe Biden pledges to not fire an inspector general, but then gets reminded that he did exactly that when he was vice president.
“I don’t recall that” and “I don’t ever remember.” Of course! pic.twitter.com/oD1guyqo5n
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How exactly could Biden forget? Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), was fired, in violation of the 2008 Inspector General Reform Act, while he was investigating Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA basketball star and Obama supporter. Johnson was being investigated for misusing federal AmeriCorps grant money. During his investigation, Walpin uncovered a cover-up of Johnson sexual abuse of underage girls, whom he attempted to pay hush money with that AmeriCorps money.
Obama broke the law to protect a donor and ally who had misused federal grant money and sexually abused three underage girls, but Biden can’t remember that? Obviously Obama would want to “forget” it because after the illegal firing, the White House launched a bogus smear campaign against Walpin, accusing him of being senile and interfering with investigations (allegations he was cleared of following an investigation) and the Obama administration misled and stonewalled a congressional investigation into the matter. That’s right, Congress literally investigated the firing, but Biden wants us to believe he can’t remember that.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis