Gridiron Dinner Highlights Biden’s Humor

Threats to democracy no joke.

At the annual white-tie Gridiron Club and Foundation Dinner in D.C. on Saturday night, President Biden withstood a few hours of jokes about his age. And then he turned the jocular narrative toward his predecessor.

The jabs at Trump continued.

“The other day, a defeated-looking man came up to me and said, ‘I’m being crushed by debt. I’m completely wiped out,’” Biden said. “I said, ‘Sorry, Donald, I can’t help you.’”

“And another big difference between us — I know what I value most,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m Jill Biden’s husband. And I know her name.” 

Biden also went after the Republican Party, mocking their attempt at impeachment and their refusal to pass an immigration bill.

“Republicans would rather fail on impeachment than succeed in anything else,” he said.

Biden poked fun at himself and his age as well, noting the dinner was “six hours past my bedtime” and marveling at low expectations for his State of the Union address.

“Even the press has to admit, I crushed it,” he said. “The expectations were so low I just had to show up and remember who the president is.”

Biden of course also turned serious, and accused Trump of “destroying the economy” in 2020 and “embarrassing” the US on the world stage, criticizing him for more recently suggesting he’d let Vladimir Putin invade NATO allies.

“I wish these were jokes but they’re not,” Biden said, vowing that on his watch, “we will not bow down.”

The $400-a-plate dinner with 650 journalists and politicos also featured speeches by Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R), and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D).

“I truly can’t believe I’m here tonight — and neither can you,” Cox said during his speech. “It really is such an honor to be at the famed Gridiron dinner. See, they don’t usually let farm kids like me into rooms like this.” He paused. “Unless you count January 6th.”

The room roared.

“And even then, we had to really push and shove our way in,” Cox added.

Cox received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

At the start of her speech, Whitmer referred to both the president of the Gridiron, Washington Post columnist Dan Balz, and Republican Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah.

Whitmer also targeted Speaker of the House Mike Johnson for his use of an anti-porn phone app.

“Fun fact: The company that makes Covenant Eyes is the second-largest employer in Owosso, Michigan. Thank you for your business, Mr. Speaker!” Whitmer said. “How good is this app? Every time Mike Johnson gets screwed by his own caucus, his son gets a notification. That poor kid’s phone has been blowing up.”

Touting one of her accomplishments, a bipartisan bill requiring every high school student to take a financial literacy class, she said “that way, young women can wisely save and invest if they’ve been paid off by Matt Gaetz.”

She referenced the threats to democracy including the plot to kidnap her as “proof that there are people out there willing to subvert democracy by taking matters into their own hands.”

“In the years since Jan. 6, I’m afraid we’ve gone from collective shock to apathy,” Whitmer said. “We don’t realize that something similar — or worse — can happen again this election.”

Regarding her national aspirations, Whitmer poked a little fun at Democratic governor potential rivals J.B. Pritzker and Gavin Newsom, and then left with a wink.

“See you in 2029,” she said.

Politico, Washington Post, CBS, Detroit News