Important lessons from Joe Biden's shabby treatment of U.K. PM Boris Johnson

A few days back, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Joe Biden held a sit-down meeting before the press in the Oval Office.

Biden conveyed a heartfelt welcome to Johnson by attentively reading from printed notes that rested on his knees.

Johnson then requested permission from Biden to engage with the press and answer “just a couple of questions.”

“Good luck,” Biden responded in his now trademark cantankerous tone while refusing to answer any questions himself.

The prime minister began answering questions, and a few minutes later, without any prior warning, the White House staffer ordered the press to leave and proceeded forcibly to escort them out of the room as if they were a herd of unruly buffaloes.  

The irked reporters then complained to press secretary Jen Psaki about their mistreatment at the daily briefings. Continuing with the inglorious tradition of the Harris-Biden administration of never accepting any responsibility for their missteps, she then blamed Johnson with a claim that he had not informed them in advance about taking questions.

It has to be remembered that Boris has been lavishing nothing but blandishment at Biden since he occupied the White House.

Back in January, he claimed that dealing with Biden was like is ‘a breath of fresh air.' At the G-7, Boris Johnson said that a post-COVID world should not only be “greener,” “fairer,” and “more gender-neutral,” but also “more feminine”. This was a blatantly disingenuous remark and was seen by many as an attempt to appease the woke Harris-Biden administration.

Biden was bordering on rude to Johnson, and so were Biden’s handlers, when they kicked out the press as Johnson was mid-sentence.

He also wasn't helpful to Britain. Prior to the meeting, Biden downplayed the possibility of a U.S.-U.K. trade deal. Two years ago, President Trump had declared Britain "first in line" among countries for a trade deal, which had been a top priority for Britain in the wake of Brexit.  A few days ago, Johnson conceded that a trade deal with Biden would be unlikely.  

Whatever happened to the proclamation to allies that ‘America is back’?

Whatever happened to the claim that the adults were back in charge and the operations were going to be civil and smooth?

What about the ‘special relation’ between the U.S. and U.K.?

Most importantly, what about Biden’s stern warning to his White House staffers, that if they were disrespectful to anyone they would be 'fired on the spot'?

We now direct our attention towards the treatment of the press.

It is an axiomatic fact that the White House press functions as cheerleaders for the Biden administration. They gladly participate in his charade of a press conference, where Biden takes ‘questions’ only from a select group of media people.

For this particular meet, the press would have gladly asked soft leading questions that would make Biden look good, irrespective of the myriad crisis that plagues his troubled administration.

So why were the press and Boris Johnson treated in so scurvy a fashion?

Quite often important lessons can be learned from the most mundane of incidents.

Johnson may have thought he could win Biden over with compliments and feigning wokeness. Instead, the Biden people perceived this as pathetic and insincere which probably caused him to be disrespected.

The press may think of themselves as foot soldiers for the Biden administration. They may regard White House staffers as their friends to whom they submit their questions in advance.

But the Biden people see these press reporters as insects who crawl when asked to bend and prostrate when asked to crawl.

Hence the humiliating expulsion came as a rude slap in the face for the press because it came at the hands of those whom they thought of as friends.

The mood at the White House seems to be in a foul these days, perhaps owing to the myriad catastrophes they are facing and Biden’s fast-plummeting approval ratings.

They chose to vent their frustration on the press, with whom they have no respect, and Johnson, whom they also hold in little regard, who was caught in the crossfire

The moral of this episode is very simple.

Respect cannot be earned by relentless slobbering and obsequiousness. The result of baseless fawning is that a bully begins to take his lackey for granted. To become a sycophant, the person has to first degrade himself which always results in a total loss of respect for such a flunky.

In the event that the bully is in a foul temper, it is the sycophant who is the recipient of the bully’s undeserved wrath.

This is a basic lesson that adults ought to instinctively know but tend to forget owing to their urge to placate their superiors and get ahead in life.

The rule is simple: If you want to be respected, you begin respecting yourself. You define boundaries in the form of your inviolable principles, morals, and ethics. Irrespective of whom you are dealing with, these boundaries will always earn you respect.

Will anything change with the White House press or Boris Johnson?   

The press may feign offense for a few moments but will eventually continue with their abject servility and Johnson has claimed the meeting as a diplomatic success.

Image: Screen shot from video posted by The Hill, via YouTube

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