Joe Biden’s not good, very bad day

Some people have bad weeks. But if you are a certain octogenarian CEO of the United States of America with a reputation for declining cognitive abilities, you may have a terrible, horrible week culminating in a purely distilled, no good, very bad, day of escalating horror.

As the incumbent and extremely unpopular resident of the White House, Joe Biden’s main selling point is that he is at least (allegedly) not as bad as presumptive primary challenger Donald Trump.

“The choice is clear. Donald Trump’s campaign is about him, not America, not you,” Biden told the Pennsylvania audience on this year’s anniversary of the 2021 Capitol riot. “Our campaign is different. For Kamala and me, our campaign is about America. It’s about you.”

That’s a pretty fair offer to get votes, as far as these things go. But, leaving Vice President Kamala Harris aside for the moment, as most Americans would like to do, it is only convincing to the extent that President Biden remembers where “America” is and is clear about the identity of “ you” which is addressing. And as a series of recent incidents demonstrate, this is far from certain.

A cascade of mental errors

“Right after I was elected, I went to a G7 meeting in the south of England,” Biden said last week at a political rally in Nevada. “And I sat down and said, ‘America is back!’ and Mitterrand from Germany, I mean from France, looked at me and said, ‘How soon are you coming back?'”

Nice surprise that Mitterrand was French, not German! This is a rescue. But forgetting that Mitterrand has been dead since 1996 and that the current French president is called “Macron” is not.

Later in the week, in New York, Biden twice attributed an alleged 2021 comment by then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Helmut Kohl, who held that position in the 1980s and 1990s and died in 2017.

He also appeared to have forgotten the name of the Hamas terrorist group that attacked Israel while updating the press on the continuation of the conflict.

This, of course, impacts the public’s perception that Biden may not be at the top of his game, or anyone else’s, when it comes to his cognitive state.

Last June, an NBC News poll found that “68% of all voters say they are concerned that Biden has the mental and physical health needed to be president, including 55% who say they have ‘major’ concerns.” . A similar 52.21% of respondents told pollsters in September that they were “very concerned” about Joe Biden’s “cognitive health impacting his ability to effectively serve another term as president.”

Many voters are Also concerned about Donald Trump’s mental fitness for office. He feeds into such concerns when, for example, he confuses Republican rival Nikki Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as he did last month. But in polls, public concerns about Trump’s mental health are significantly lower than Biden’s. Frankly, Trump’s brand is vicious rather than confusing.

When you welcome good news for your opponent

So, Biden’s team must have breathed a relative sigh of relief when media attention shifted Thursday to Supreme Court hearings on the status of Colorado’s efforts to keep the presumptive GOP nominee off the ballot. On the other hand, it wasn’t exactly good news for the current president.

“A clear majority of justices expressed overwhelming skepticism of plaintiffs’ claim that Trump is disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment because he ‘engaged in insurrection,’” he reported SlateIt’s Mark Joseph Stern. “Judges across the ideological spectrum have suggested that individual states cannot enforce Section 3 against federal candidates, at least not without congressional approval.”

Well, at least it was a distraction, right? Biden’s main rival seems destined for a runoff, but at least no one is talking about cognitive decline.

Well, they weren’t in the clear until Special Counsel Robert Hur released his report on Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents.

Good news, really bad news

“Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden intentionally retained and disclosed classified material following his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” the report said.

Uh oh.

“We reject prosecution of Mr. Biden.”


“At trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to the jury, as he did during our interview, as a sympathetic, well-intentioned older man with a poor memory,” the report noted. “He couldn’t remember when he was vice president, forgetting the first day of the interview at the end of his term (“if it was 2013, when did I stop being vice president?”), and forgetting the second day of the interview when his term began ( “In 2009, am I still vice president?”). He couldn’t remember, even several years later, when his son Beau died.”

Ouch. That’s not where the White House team wanted it to go. The president himself responded bitterly at a press conference in which he welcomed the decision not to prosecute, but denounced smears about his cognitive abilities and insisted that “my memory is good.” Then he answered a question about Israel.

“As you know, initially the president of Mexico, El-Sisi, did not want to open the door to let in humanitarian materials,” he responded.

But the president is Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Egypt.

“Mexico? Mexico? Where did it come from?” asked CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin. “That’s the only thing anyone will remember about this.”

In a snap weekend poll conducted by YouGov, 47% of respondents say Joe Biden’s health and age will “severely limit his ability to do the job” if he wins in November. Honestly, 32% say the same thing about Trump, but a third is definitely better than just under half when people are trying to decide which candidate is less bad.

Last week, Joe Biden had a pretty good day, and it’s a good bet there will be more to come.

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