After a handful of classified documents were found at President Biden’s former private office, Donald Trump, his allies, and even some of the mainstream media are stumbling over themselves to equate it with Trump’s hoarding of hundreds of classified documents after he left office. But the two cases are nowhere near the same.
The classified documents were discovered by Biden’s personal attorneys in his former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. Fewer than a dozen documents were found, with CBS reporting the number at roughly 10. It is unclear what the documents contain and how sensitive they are. CBS News reported the documents do not contain nuclear secrets.
On the same day the attorneys found the documents, the White House counsel’s office notified the National Archives. The documents were handed over the next morning.
Meanwhile, recall that the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago came after numerous attempts by the government to retrieve documents from Trump. The raid uncovered droves of documents that included documents from the CIA, NSA, FBI, and materials that described a foreign government’s nuclear defense capability. Overall, the government has recovered at least 300 classified documents since Trump left office; again, Biden’s team themselves actively returned the roughly 10 such documents that they found.
Of course, the difference isn’t stopping Trump or other Republicans from reacting in bad faith.
“When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?” Trump asked on Truth Social Monday night. “These documents were definitely not declassified.”
“We want to know exactly what documents were taken by both President Trump and now President Biden and want to know if they’re gonna treat President Biden any differently than they treated President Trump,” said GOP Representative James Comer.
Based on what we know so far, the number of the documents in question and the responses by the pair are radically different—so both cases indeed warrant different treatment. But it seems some mainstream media sources are not interested in laying out that plain fact:
Here—though the clip is not as bad as Froomkin’s tweet implies—the pair of commentators discuss how much of a “political gift” the situation is to Trump and pessimistically assert that nuance that could accurately communicate the differences in the two cases just won’t “cut through.” The duo speak as if they themselves aren’t also how thousands of people take in information, and aren’t ones who can help communicate that nuance. So, sure, they and we can agree that the right wing might operate in bad faith. But the mainstream media can’t haplessly stand in the middle of it all, shrugging their shoulders and saying it’s all just a darn shame.