Biden’s inaugural address was a soulful plea to come together. After being in office for a week he has already overturned Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the US military, and rejoined the Paris climate agreement… is President Joe Biden better than Trump, or will the honeymoon phase come to an end sooner than expected? The Guardian’s Washington DC bureau chief David Smith joins the team to discuss what’s happening in the USA. Brought to you by Nando’s.



Undoing Trump’s Legacy

1 Comment

  • Bruce Nixon

    Hi Gareth, I have been listening to the Burning Platform for about three years now and have largely enjoyed it. The reason for me subscribing is that as an ex South African now living in Australia I wanted to keep up to date with local affairs as much as possible and I deliberately subscribe to around 6 podcasts, some very conservative and a couple very provocatively left. I broadly consider this to be somewhat centrist. I know you yourself have apologized to the viewers when covering international affairs but it also important to have South African views on international affairs. However, I do feel that when you guys deal with International affairs and especially American affairs that you collectively are pretty “off the pace” in understanding how modern democratic countries work. To explain this point, let me be clear that I don’t consider South Africa a modern Democratic country at all and that the ruling ANC are a rotten and corrupt institution through and through. They are NOT even a government compared to the Australia, US and even the UK government. What I mean by that is that even in the most extreme times (like the current US situation) there are more voters that fundamentally believe that the government is acting in their interest AND most importantly most government officials and bureaucrats ARE actually working in the interest of the people that elected them. I don’t mean this to be a provocative point, sincerely but the more I listen to this podcast I would say that understandably, you are looking at international politics through the lens of the complete failure and ineptitude of the ANC. Unfortunately the result of that is that you are getting drawn to some of the more radical ideas in international politics and may be falling for the personality politics that has become the hallmark of Trumpism. The reason why I am writing this is because I am sorry to say but this was an appalling episode and frankly I believe you owe an apology to David Smith. Its fine to be more sympathetic to the views of Trump and the Republican party but every question that you asked Davin in relation to Biden was leading and negative. It also swung wildly from questions on big picture ideas that the new Biden administration has to small and petty statements which David often corrected . Specifically I think that you are missing the point about what people like about Biden – its not his personality or his dynamism, its just his inherent decency. How this plays out in reality is how he is willing to hire the right people with the right expertise to important positions. Have a look at all his recent senior appointments – do you notice that they all have real qualifications and years of experience in their areas of responsibility? That is the key difference that his administration brings and that is what is “normal” in a modern democratic system. I think the audience could have got so much out of this episode if you had asked more balanced and open ended questions so David could actually tell you what he thought was happening in Washington. This is not the first episode that this has happened but this was the worst example. Anyhow, I hope that this is taken as constructive criticism as I used to really get a lot out of the show. Regards Bruce

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