Shocking news: US President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr is “a well-meaning old man with a bad memory.”
In fact, everyone knew it. But since this was the reason given in a legal brief for not prosecuting the president for mishandling classified documents, it has shaken Biden’s re-election campaign much more than if the special counsel had recommended that the case continue against the 81-year-old. years. in the White House.
The normally supportive New York Times launched an avalanche of articles questioning Biden’s abilities, one of which said: “The impression the president gives in public is not one of senility, but rather one of extreme fragility, like a light bulb that stays on as long as you keep it on. an attenuator.’ And the published opinion of the NYT’s own editorial board was: “This is a dark moment for Mr. Biden’s presidency.”
It didn’t help that the report’s author, Robert Hur, gave examples of why he thought Biden would criticize a juror for not being in full control of his powers: “He didn’t remember when he was vice president, forgetting the first moment.” On the day of the interview when he finished his term… he did not remember, even after several years, when his son Beau died.
For those who have followed Biden’s astonishingly long political career (he became a senator in 1972, when this country’s prime minister was Ted Heath), there is nothing surprising even in those seemingly strange lapses of memory. During the 2020 presidential election, former British ambassador to Washington Kim Darroch undiplomatically observed of Biden: “What we used to say inside the Embassy… was that he is certainly past his prime and his prime.” It’s never been so good.”
In any case, I suspect that the American people, just by witnessing the purely physical deterioration of Joe Biden, will decide for themselves that he is no longer fit for office, says Dominic Lawson.
For those who have followed Biden’s astonishingly long political career, there’s nothing surprising even in those seemingly strange memory lapses, says Dominic
In 2008, for example, in an interview with journalist and host Katie Couric, Biden described how “when the markets crashed in 1929, Franklin Roosevelt went on television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed, he said : “Look, this is what happened. ‘
Aside from the fact that FDR was not president at the time, television did not exist at that time.
When it comes to the details of his own life, Biden has always struggled to distinguish fact from fiction. This ruined his first presidential candidacy, when in 1987 he plagiarized, precisely, a speech by Neil Kinnock, in which he declaimed: “Why is Joe Biden the first in his family to go to college?” ?” But he wasn’t.
And he claimed that his own ancestors “worked in the coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania and would return after 12 hours.” When asked to provide evidence of these supposed coal mining ancestors, Biden was unable to do so.
While it’s understandable that Biden angrily denounced the special counsel’s claim that the president couldn’t say when his son Beau died, Hur’s account simply offers a kind of legal version of what we already know. Joe Biden has claimed on more than one occasion that Beau, who served in the 2003-2011 Iraq War, died while on active duty there.
In Colorado in 2022, Biden declared that he spoke like “the father of a man who… lost his life in Iraq.” The real Beau Biden died of brain cancer at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in 2015.
Donald Trump, almost inevitably the Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election, has naturally made good use of the special counsel’s claims about the man he lost to in 2020 (although, in his own self-serving mythology, Trump claims that he and not Biden won that election).
In fact, two years ago, Trump, with his characteristic delicacy of touch, had already described Biden as suffering from “late-stage dementia.”
But what about Donald J. Trump himself? On Election Day he will be 78, when Biden will be about to turn 82. Trump’s own grip on reality, and indeed on the English language, now appears barely less tenuous than that of his opponent. . Attendees at Trump rallies witness long passages that defy analysis. And that’s nothing new either.
Try this, from one of his campaign speeches in 2016: ‘Look, having nuclear power – my uncle was a great professor, scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, he is fine, very smart, Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart; You know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, okay, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they’d say I’m one of the smartest people in the world. It’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try… oh, they do a number… that’s why I always start: I went to Wharton, I was a good student, I went there, I went there, I did this, I made a fortune… yeah You know I have to give my same credentials all the time, because we’re a little bit at a disadvantage, but if you look at the nuclear deal, which really bothers me, it would have been very easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are. …’
And he continues rambling in the same incoherent tone, for a while longer. At times like this, we have to remind ourselves that Trump is a teetotaler, just to rule out the most obvious explanation.
In the current campaign, he has confused President Biden with President Obama, President Orban of Hungary with President Erdogan of Turkey (well, that could happen to any of us), and Nikki Haley, his remaining rival for the Republican nomination, with Nancy Pelosi. the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives when Trump fomented a mob of his supporters who stormed Congress three years ago.
At a recent rally, Trump shouted: ‘Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guard, whatever you want. They rejected it!’
In fact, Trump’s claim that he had authorized the deployment of 10,000 National Guard members to defend the Capitol that day was proven to be a fiction, in the official report on the shocking events of January 6, 2021 (by the that the former president is still accused). (he faces charges of what amounts to sedition).
Having won a third general election in October 1974, on March 16, 1976, just five days after his 60th birthday, Wilson surprised the nation by announcing his resignation.
The real Nikki Haley, whom Trump had named ambassador to the UN, has linked Biden and Trump as being too old for the position of president (understandably, since she is 51).
In an interview with CBS, Haley said Trump was “just not at the same level” as when he was president in 2016-2020: “Are we really going to get into a situation where we have wars all over the world… and Will we have someone who we may or may not be sure will be confused?
And at a rally in New Hampshire, he asked: ‘Do we really want to go into an election with two guys who will be president at 80? We can’t have anyone else to question whether he’s mentally fit to do this.’
His argument, however self-serving, is especially relevant not only because of the vital wartime role of the United States in both the Middle East and Europe, but also because of the remarkable power of the presidency. He (it has always been a he) is commander-in-chief and has executive powers that exceed anything a British prime minister can wield.
Just as it has long been observed that Britain is “a republic disguised as a monarchy,” the United States can also be said to be a monarchy disguised as a republic, with the president as a kind of elected monarch.
It would be nice (whoever Biden or Trump ends up president-elect in November) if they had the self-awareness of British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Having won a third general election in October 1974, on March 16, 1976, just five days after his 60th birthday, Wilson surprised the nation by announcing his resignation.
He seems to have realized that his hitherto extraordinary ability to remember and grasp details (he had a stellar academic career before entering politics) was failing. In short, the Yorkshireman felt he could no longer do the job of first minister. It turned out that he was suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, a sad degeneration that became much more evident in the former Prime Minister after his departure from office.
In any case, I suspect that the American people, just by witnessing Joe Biden’s purely physical deterioration, will decide for themselves that he is no longer fit for office.