Leaders of the Democratic Party who were once swift to condemn former President Donald Trump for mishandling classified documents are notably silent in the face of a similar scandal involving President Biden.
As recently as Saturday, it was announced more of Biden’s classified documents were found at his Delaware home after initial documents were discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C.
There were also no FBI raids on his home, unlike with Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.
In light of the Justice Department announcing a special counsel to investigate the issue, many Democrats are seemingly ignoring the controversy altogether.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has not mentioned the controversy on social media. Instead, she has recently commented on climate change, lowering healthcare costs for insulin, inflation, and the COVID-19 vaccine.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives after Pelosi resigned from leadership, has not said a word about Biden’s controversy.
Jeffries, D-NY, instead drew attention to Republicans, saying his party would “not let the U.S. economy be held hostage by Extreme MAGA Republicans.”
He also recently commented on inflation and protecting women’s reproductive care.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, has also not commented on Biden’s classified documents.
“If Republicans follow the extreme MAGA wing of their party off a cliff, keep caving to election deniers and those who threaten our democracy, and help the wealthy at the expense of the working class: Democrats will fight tooth and nail against these attacks,” he recently tweeted.
On Thursday, Schumer again directed attention toward Republicans.
“In the last week Republicans have given a free pass to wealthy tax cheats, empaneled a committee to undermine and threaten law enforcement, undercut women’s healthcare, and put forward a draconian budget plan that will lead to cuts to Medicare and Social Security and defunding the police,” Schumer said. “Senate Democrats will put the American people first and stand as a firewall to this extreme MAGA Republican agenda.”
He also wrote a Dear Colleague Letter on “Continuing Bipartisan Work in 118 Congress,” where he did not mention the classified documents.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also shied away from addressing the Biden situation and instead called for the Biden administration to lower the cost of Xtandi, a drug that is used in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Former President Obama, Biden’s boss at the time those documents were transported to his home in Delaware, has not made a single tweet or public statement about the discovery.
His most recent post on social media encouraged Americans to sign up for healthcare vis-à-vis the Affordable Care Act, his signature law.
The former president also tweeted about a gun violence prevention package that was approved by Illinois lawmakers.
For their credit, some Democratic lawmakers have spoken out about the controversy, including Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.
Warner, also Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for Biden officials to brief his committee on what documents were found in Biden’s possession. He made a similar inquiry of Trump’s team after documents were found at Mar-a-Lago.
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-GA., addressed the documents and “big differences” between Biden and Trump’s situations, only to say the documents may have been “planted” at Biden’s home.
“It is refreshing to see the Department of Justice restored from its politicization during the Trump years, and I applaud Attorney General Garland for acting swiftly in appointing a special counsel to investigate the Biden document discoveries,” Johnson said. “Based on what we know, there is a big difference between the Trump and Biden document cases.
“The Trump document case is an open-and-shut case and should proceed without delay to a final and just resolution,” he added. “There remains much we don’t know about the Biden document discoveries, and it’s too early to reach any conclusions. I am confident, however, that the process has begun to ensure that we get to the truth, and that justice will be done.”
“Alleged classified documents showing up allegedly in the possession of Joseph Biden — there’s so much that needs to be investigated and that’s what I call for, is for everything to be investigated but I’m suspicious of the timing of it,” Johnson later told Fox News’ Hillary Vaughn. “I’m also aware of the fact that things can be planted on people… things can be planted in places and then discovered conveniently. That may be what has occurred here. I’m not ruling that out. But I’m open in terms of the investigation needs to be investigated.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., tweeted about “threats around the world” but did not mention the latest classified documents being stored in Biden’s garage rather than a sensitive, compartmentalized information facility.
These threats “are serious and growing,” Schiff tweeted Saturday afternoon. “From Russia and China to the rise of authoritarianism.”
“But to Kevin McCarthy, the Intelligence Committee is just a political plaything,” he added. “His conduct is embarrassing, and worse, dangerous. The American people deserve better.”
He previously contrasted “enormous differences” between the two presidents.
“There are, as far as I can see, enormous differences between the situation with President Biden and the former president,” he said. “Let’s not lose sight of the seriousness and the contrasting factors that we see with the case of the former president.”
Democrat Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina also insisted Biden’s handling of materials compared to Trump’s is “dramatically different.”
“In this instance, they are dramatically different,” Clyburn said on MSNBC. “The intent on the part of the president is not there, the cooperation on the part of the president is there. The exact opposite to what you had with the parallel of former President Trump.”
Biden has addressed the controversy, though jokingly saying the documents were safely “locked” away as his garage is secure enough to protect his prized Corvette.
“Classified material next to your Corvette? What were you thinking?” Fox News’ Peter Doocy directly asked Biden.
“By the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage,” Biden said, adding: “People know that I take classified documents and classified material seriously. I also said we’re cooperating fully with the Justice Department’s review.”
The official White House explanation, offered by lawyer Richard Sauber, is that the “documents were inadvertently misplaced” — or were simply a “mistake.”
Biden previously complained about Trump being “irresponsible” after classified documents containing the nation’s secrets were found at his Florida estate.
“How that could possibly happen, how anyone could be that irresponsible,” Biden said during an interview on “60 Minutes” in September with CBS’ Scott Pelley. “And I thought what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods. By that, I mean, names of people helped or et cetera.”
Biden’s allies have also previously said aides were working to empty Biden’s vice presidential office in the hours just before Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.
That explanation, however, is “incredibly careless and really quite shocking,” according to Richard Painter, the top ethics official in the George W. Bush administration.
“You never just pack stuff up and cart it out of there,” Painter said.
Aides and lawyers are supposed to carefully review what official records are being taken from the property and are to hand over such documents to the National Archives.
“To say nothing of classified documents which have these distinctive markings on them,” Painter said. “It’s still very worrisome. It’s a serious national security breach.”
As for the Democrats’ response — or lack of one — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said their reaction points to them having “overplayed” their hand with Trump.
“I just think it goes to prove what they tried to do to President Trump overplayed their hand on that,” McCarthy, R-Calif. Said to a group of reporters Monday.
McCarthy also noted Biden and his team “have been around even longer” than Trump.
“President Trump had never been in office before and had just left, came out. Here’s an individual who spent his last 40 years in office,” McCarthy said. “It just shows that they were trying to be political with President Trump.”
Several Trump supporters have pointed out that Trump had the authority to declassify the documents at his estate while Biden lacked the power to do so as vice president.
Trump also responded, asking when the FBI would be raiding Biden.
“When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?” Trump asked on his social media platform Truth Social. “These documents were definitely not declassified.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that he appointed veteran prosecutor Robert Hur to investigate Biden’s documents.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris, Ashley Papa and The Associated Press contributed to this report.