Trump allies have now reverted to a shameless tactic that the President has perfected over the years: bringing Biden's masculinity into question.
As the presidential election draws closer, President Donald Trump and his allies have proved that they can — and will — play every dirty trick in the book to derail former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign momentum. However, with their repeated attempts to discredit the Democratic presidential nominee falling hilariously flat, they have now reverted to a shameless tactic that Trump has perfected over the years: bringing Biden's masculinity into question. The latest bid to emasculate the father-of-four came from John Cardillo — a host on Newsmax, a Trump-aligned media network — who chose a photo of Biden hugging his son Hunter and kissing him on the cheek to launch his attack.
The photo of Joe and Hunter Biden that sparked so much attention on Twitter today comes from this 2016 article.— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) October 22, 2020
“In their first interview together since Beau's death, the Biden men talk about the bond between a father and his children.”https://t.co/LBqtMcwuyl
"Does this look like an appropriate father/son interaction to you?" Cardillo asked his Twitter followers, evidently implying that there's something unnatural or inappropriate about Biden's relationship with his son. While MSNBC reports that Cardillo isn't an official Trump surrogate, he is clearly following a precedent put forth by the President, who tried to use his opponent's sons' addiction as a "gotcha" moment during the disastrous first presidential debate. However, Trump's attempt to win some votes by taking a cheap shot at Biden blew up in his face when the former Vice President responded to slight with an unconditional and warm paternal reply.
Does this look like an appropriate father/son interaction to you? pic.twitter.com/XDMIsgjUKI— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) October 22, 2020
"My son, like a lot of people... had a drug problem," Biden said at the time. "He's fixed it. He's worked on it. And I'm proud of him. I'm proud of my son." Like Trump, Cardillo's efforts too backfired on him when fathers and sons on Twitter called him out on his toxic masculinity. "John, if your father never gave you a hug and a kiss on the cheek, I'm truly sorry for you. Maybe it's something you should talk to someone about, as it's pretty clear it troubles you," commented British film director Duncan Jones.
I miss my father so much! I would do anything for another hug from him.— Russell Drew (@RussOnPolitics) October 22, 2020
It's beautiful to see Joe Biden and Hunter Biden care so much for each other after so many decades of tragedy and loss.
For some conservatives, "family values" are just words and political catch phrases. pic.twitter.com/1y95YRBSMP
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn also gave Cardillo a glimpse into what a healthy father-son relationship is like. "Man this just makes me miss my Dad and how he’d kiss me on the cheek every time we’d say goodbye," he tweeted. Actor Kumail Nanjiani shared similar sentiments in a different tweet where he spelled out the benefits of having a father who isn't afraid to show affection. "My dad always gave me physical & emotional affection. He still can't say he’s proud of me without tearing up," he tweeted. "I had a male role model who showed me it was natural to show affection, emotion, love. The world would be better if men were comfortable expressing their inner lives."
I’m truly sorry you don’t have a good relationship with your father -I really am pic.twitter.com/V8KNyiPK9q— Brian Cuban (@bcuban) October 22, 2020
Funnily enough, in their incessant efforts to defile Biden's name, Republicans have managed to further establish him as a man devoted to his role as a father. In fact, they might've even done more than the Democratic party to help Biden's case in this aspect. Remember when they leaked the 77-year-old's text messages to his son Hunter when the latter was in rehab? "Good morning my beautiful son. I miss you and love you. Dad." — How is leaking this message of paternal care and encouragement supposed to be a blow to Biden?
I’m a trained therapist and if anyone looks at this photo and sees anything other than father + son love, I’d recommend therapy until the person knows diff bw healthy + unhealthy touching.— Kim C. Dickerson, M.S. (@kimcdickerson) October 22, 2020
What these efforts do demonstrate is their toxic and harmful ideas around masculinity and manhood. Their repeated reinforcing of ideas around homophobia that end up hurting straight men the most by depriving them of the touch and affection that all humans need. What these sly tactics actually tell us is that they stand to take a leaf out of Joe Biden's book on parenting. To learn from him how not to let toxic masculinity stand in the way of forming lasting, meaningful bonds with their own sons.