In an exclusive interview, David Delaney, one of three official Joe Biden impersonators, tells TCW Defending Freedom what it is like to pretend to be the world’s most powerful leader.
TCW: David, thank you for giving me this interview. Can you tell me how you became a Biden impersonator?
DD: I have been a bit-part player all my life. My first role was as a bellboy in I Love Lucy. My career took a nosedive after I indulged in the well-known excesses of Hollywood. By the age of 50 I was broke, washed-up and living in a trailer park in Woebegone, Idaho.
A couple of years ago, I was caught drink-driving and my picture appeared in the Woebegone Clarion. While I was in police custody a guy visited me. He said he was from the FBI. To cut a long story short, his people got me out, cleaned me up, and did some surgery. Then they got me a flat in the basement of the White House with the other two impersonators, and started me on an intensive training course in Bidenisms. It’s a bit ironic, me playing Biden, because I was a big Reagan fan.
TCW: When are you called upon to represent the President?
DD: Often it’s doing everyday things that Joe has problems with such as walking up and down airplane stairs, shaking hands with some foreign guys, or waving to a crowd. Occasionally, I do speeches.
TCW: What are your biggest challenges when playing the President?
DD: I guess I’m OK with the voice now but the mannerisms and peculiarities can be a problem. For example, I’m still working on his thousand-mile stare, and I’m not too happy about sniffing young girls’ hair. I had kids of my own and I would never do that. The dementia thing is also tricky. Sometimes at the end of a speech I just walk off of the stage like a normal person and forget to wander around for 30 seconds like Joe.
I also have difficulty with some of Joe’s vocabulary, or Bidenese as the three of us call it. How on earth are you supposed to say ‘Nexnelsrent’, and, ‘Mybusbenwet’, and if you think they are hard, what about ‘Truinderdashdubbadapresher’. Gee, that was a real humdinger. It took me a whole week to learn that baby.
TCW: Have you ever made a slip-up whilst playing the President?
DD: The good thing about playing Joe is that you can do or say just about anything and get away with it. We have been instructed never to mention the words ‘nuclear’ and ‘launch’ in the same sentence, but apart from that anything goes. Like Joe I have Irish ancestry and I have to admit it was me who said, ‘I may be Irish, but I’m not stupid’. I had to apologise to my handlers for that one. The good thing is that CNN, the Washington Post and the others either don’t report these gaffes or they pass them off as Joe’s weird sense of humour, or a bit of ‘malarkey’ as he calls it.
TCW: What about questions about the President’s son, Hunter?
TCW: I expect you have all discussed your role with the President.
DD: To be honest, I’ve never seen Mr President in the flesh. I understand he spends most of his time dozing or watching cartoons in his apartment. We study Bidenisms using old video and tapes.
TCW: Do you ever worry that one day you will be rumbled?
DD: Not really – people still think the Pfizer shot stops them getting the Batflu, they believe a flimsy mask will prevent them catching a virus, and they think that Russia blew up its own undersea pipeline to stop their gas going to Europe instead of turning off a couple of valves.
TCW: What is your next assignment as the fake President?
DD: I have speech to make in Gutrot, Ohio. I have a new word to learn. It’s ‘Badehkefkehr’. Just don’t ask me what it means.
TCW: Finally, what do you intend to do when the Joe Biden is no longer President?
DD: to be honest, I haven’t really thought about it. His people tell me the next Presidential election is in the bag and he’s got another six years to go.