Joe Biden’s latest gaffe plays into Republicans’ hands
President Joe Biden once called himself a « blunder machine » – and his latest mistake is a lie.
Speaking at the White House Hunger, Nutrition and Health Conference on Wednesday, Biden tried to acknowledge Rep. Jackie Walorski’s attendance — despite the fact that the Indiana Republican died in a crash. car in early August.
“Jacky, are you there? Where is Jackie? I think she wasn’t going to be here — to help make this a reality,” Biden said.
The White House sought to play the odd moment as nothing more than Walorski being « in the lead » for Biden.
“There will be a bill signing in her honor next Friday, so of course she was on her mind,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. « She was the president’s first concern. »
Which, of course. Everybody makes mistakes.
But it’s a pretty one big mistake to make. And unfortunately for Biden, that plays into a caricature that Republicans — led by former President Donald Trump — have long painted of him.
“This guy has no idea. He doesn’t know where the hell he is,” Trump said of Biden during the 2020 campaign. “This guy doesn’t know he’s alive.”
At another point, Trump said, “Biden is shot. I tell you he is shot. Something is happening.
However, Biden’s overall health did not play a big role in the 2020 election. Forty-one percent of voters in the 2020 election exit poll said only Biden had the mental and physical health to occupy the post of president. The same number – 41% – said only Trump had the mental and physical stamina to do the job. Another 8% said neither had one.
In 2021, amid the failed US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Republican Senator from Tennessee Bill Hagerty suggested that the handling of the situation « created doubt not just in my mind, in the minds of many , many Americans, but also in the minds of our allies” regarding Biden’s ability to get the job done.
Earlier this year, Kansas GOP Senator Roger Marshall, a physician, suggested that Biden submit to annual cognitive tests. « I think we’re all concerned about President Biden’s mental health, » Marshall said at the time. He added that he feels he has seen a « deterioration » in Biden’s mental health over the past year.
Here’s what we know for the facts: Biden is 79. He is the oldest person to be elected to a first term as president and, if he stands for a second term, he will also be the oldest person to do so. His most recent medical examination was last November. At the time, the White House physician said Biden « remains fit for duty and fully performing all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations. »
What we also know is that Biden’s age is an issue for voters well beyond the hard-core Republican base.
In a New York Times/Siena College poll taken over the summer, Biden’s age was a prominent factor among Democratic voters who said they’d rather the party appoint someone else to run. presidency in 2024.
As the New York Times noted in a July article on Biden’s age, citing more than a dozen current and former senior officials and advisers:
« [T]They acknowledged Mr Biden looked older than he did just a few years ago, a political liability that cannot be solved by traditional White House gimmicks like staff reshuffles or new communications plans. . His energy level, while impressive for a man of his age, is no longer what it used to be, and some assistants watch over him discreetly. He often walks shuffling, and aides fear he may trip over a wire. He stumbles over the words at public events, and they hold their breath to see if he gets to the end without a blunder.
On Wednesday, Biden didn’t make it through without a blunder.