Will The Media Demand Joe Biden Testify To Congress -- Like Gerald Ford?

August 12th, 2023 4:00 PM

Buckle up. The appalled shrieks of anger from the media will soon be heard. Why?

Here is this headline - just a sample one of many. The source, NBC News

GOP Oversight Chairman Comer vows to subpoena the Biden family 

Comer's promise follows a Republican-led investigation that has largely focused on Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings but shown no direct links to the president.

Here’s another version, this one from USA Today

Comer says he will subpoena Biden, family members to testify before House Oversight Committee 

The USA Today story quotes Comer as follows: 

'This is always gonna end with the Bidens coming in front of the committee,’ Comer told Fox Business in an interview on Thursday. ‘We are going to subpoena the family.’

And, but of course, the Biden White House, doubtless soon to be followed by its media allies, lashed out at Comer, the paper reporting it this way from a White House aide’s statement:

Comer and his fellow extreme Republicans in Congress are now admitting they haven’t uncovered any proof of involvement or wrongdoing by President Biden.

In other words? Nothing to see here. Move along.

When push comes to shove and Comer’s subpoena is demanding the literal, physical presence of President Joe Biden to explain to the House Oversight Committee in a live televised appearance the Biden millions as presented in the Biden family bank records? Count on the media to go crazy. He’s the President, the cry will go up. He can’t testify to Congress! 

But alas, while the Democrats and their media pals will try and ignore history, they will have no one to thank but their Democrat and media predecessors for setting the precedent of demanding - and getting - a sitting President of the United States to explain himself in front of a seriously probing Committee of Congress.

For those who came in late? The name President Gerald Ford should ring a bell. Back there in the craziness of the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon was essentially forced to resign. To be succeeded by his vice president, the longtime House GOP leader Gerald Ford. Ford, like Biden, had been a well liked and longtime Member of Congressman. I Ford’s case his lengthy congressional career was in the House where he served as the Congressman from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Eventually he was elected by his GOP colleagues to be the Minority Leader. 

Out of the blue Nixon’s Vice President Spiro Agnew was forced to resign in a pay-to-play scandal from his days as Governor of Maryland. The resignation opened the way for Nixon to appoint Ford. Then Nixon himself resigned, and of a sudden, Gerald Ford was now President Ford.

And one of the new President’s first actions, with an eye to putting an end to the ongoing turmoil of Watergate, was to pardon Nixon. 

In short, all political hell broke out. And in a blink came the demand from Democrats and their media allies that Ford be summoned to Capitol Hill to explain himself.

Ford, ever the upright guy, agreed - to the surprise of many.

Forty years later over there at Real Clear Politics, political reporter Carl Cannon recalled the episode wrote: 

In their re-telling of the Watergate story 40 years after the fact, former Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward have both related Bernstein’s impassioned response upon learning that Ford had issued a preemptive pardon to Nixon.

‘That son of a bitch pardoned the son of a bitch!’ Bernstein told his colleague. 

He wasn’t the only one who felt that way. The White House switchboard lit up with angry phone calls. Democrats in Congress swiftly passed (utterly symbolic) resolutions calling on the president to refrain from issuing any Watergate pardons until the defendants had been tried, convicted, and their appeals exhausted. Some Democratic House members wondered aloud about whether Ford and Nixon had struck this deal before Ford was chosen as vice president…..

…On October 17, 1974, President Ford went to Capitol Hill to explain himself to the House Judiciary Committee, a panel dominated by Democrats who’d been appalled by what they’d learned of Nixon’s actions in the White House. (Here, courtesy of C-SPAN, is an excerpt from that testimony.)

In a recent interview with American History TV, presidential scholar Richard Norton Smith explains why Ford was willing to become the first president since Lincoln to testify before a congressional committee:

'This is where 25 years on Capitol Hill played dividends,” Smith noted. “He was comfortable going into that lion’s den.'

Ford gave as good as he got that day, and never wavered in his conviction that he’d done the right thing. Nixon was not prosecuted criminally for his actions during Watergate, but Ford believed he hadn’t gotten away with a thing.

Catch that key phrase from the historian Richard Norton Smith of Ford’s appearance in front of an overwhelmingly Democrat congressional committee: “This is where 25 years on Capitol Hill played dividends. He was comfortable going into that lion’s den.”

Which is an (admittedly!) long way of saying that the demand by House Republicans for President Joe Biden personally to appear before the House Oversight Committee has a serious precedent - and a precedent that was set by Democrats of the day. 

The central accusations against Ford and Biden - long-serving Members of the House and Senate respectively -  are a variation of the same charge. That charge being that they used their respective offices to gain a serious personal benefit for themselves.

In Ford’s case the accusation was that he agreed to pardon Nixon if Nixon appointed Ford Vice President and was later forced to resign, making Ford president. In Biden’s case the charges are that he personally benefitted from son Hunter’s million dollar deals by allowing Hunter to sell access to Joe Biden himself. Joe Biden as - the brand.

Will the media do their historical due diligence if in fact Comer and Biden are going head to head? With Biden refusing a Comer subpoena on the grounds that presidents don’t testify to Congress? 

Will the media remember Gerald Ford’s dramatic appearance in front of the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee to defend himself? And will they demand that Joe Biden do the same?

Don’t bet the ranch.

Which, in turn, tells the American people everything they need to know about the integrity of the “mainstream” media.