You can add another item to the list of scandals in President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. And it came right in the nick of time. On Thursday, Biden was walking to Marine One alongside his wife, Jill Biden, when he suddenly bent down, picked a dandelion from the grass and presented it to the first lady before they boarded the helicopter. Pretty much everyone quickly recognized it for the sweet moment that it was, and many were quick to point to the contrast with Biden’s predecessor, who rarely had any public moments of affection with his wife while in office. Reuters, for example, wrote in a tweet that the move showed how Biden was “ever the romantic.”
Not everyone was happy with the dandelion-giver though. Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield had a mini freak out about it on air while the chyron made it clear what he thought about the whole thing: “Biden bizarrely gives Jill a dandelion.” As Stinchfield starts talking about it, he sets the scene as if he’s about to present something profoundly weird. “All right folks, take a look at this,” he said. He then starts recounting the scene. “And he stops and picks up—I think it’s a dandelion? But it’s a dandelion that hasn’t even blossomed into a flower yet,” Stinchfied complains, “like it gives everybody asthma.”
Leave aside for a moment that the dandelion had, in fact, already passed its flowering stage, it seems Stinchfield has some past trauma with dandelions. As far as Stinchield is concerned, dandelions are chaotic and a force for evil. “You blow it, it goes everywhere, and then everybody starts sneezing,” he said. Little wonder then that he doesn’t think it was a romantic move and even (jokingly one would hope) raises the possibility it was all a set-up. “He picks up the weed and gives it to Jill in what I guess is supposed to be some kind of a sweet gesture,” he scoffed. “I say it was a planted dandelion there. Who knows?” Many quickly started to post about #DandelionGate on social media. Stinchfield brushed off critics on Twitter: “I think I’m pretty damn funny!”
Newsmax wasn’t alone in mocking Biden for the moment. Laura Ingraham and Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo discussed the moment for several minutes on Friday night. Arroyo mocked Biden for handing his wife “a weed” and essentially for trying too hard. “When you have to work that hard after many years of marriage … something’s wrong,” he added.
*This post has been updated with new information since it was first published.