White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that it was President Joe Biden’s decision to appear before reporters last week and defend himself against a report that said he was suffering from “diminished faculties.”
The decision backfired.
After defending his memory against claims that he couldn’t even remember when his beloved son died, he lost the news cycle by referring to the Egyptian president as the “president of Mexico.”
During his regular briefing on Tuesday, Jean-Pierre was asked who had decided to appear.
“It was the president’s idea,” he said.
President Joe Biden made a furious defense of his mental abilities in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room last week, before undermining his appearance by confusing the presidents of Egypt and Mexico.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that it was Biden’s own decision to hold an afternoon press conference.
The appearance highlighted an ongoing debate inside the White House: How often should an 81-year-old president be exposed to questions from reporters?
His advisers frequently say that Biden is his best messenger, even if he has a long history of making gaffes.
And last Thursday was an example of the pros and cons of putting him in front of the cameras. A furious Biden impressively dismissed headlines about his age, down to exactly the kind of verbal slip that has the White House so nervous about his appearance.
Jean-Pierre said he would not enter the private decision-making process
“You saw the president come out, do this, make a statement, answer questions from all of you because he wanted to do it,” he said.
‘I am not going to enter into private conversations that the president has.
‘The president is the president of the United States. If he says he wants to talk directly to the American people, he will do it.”
The controversy was sparked last week with the release of a special counsel’s report on how classified documents ended up in Biden’s family home and an office he used after leaving the vice presidency.
Robert Hur concluded that Biden should not face charges. But much of his report described the president as a bewildered old man.
President Joe Biden will not be criminally charged for hiding classified documents in his garage and private office.
Department of Justice photographs reveal boxes and boxes of files stored in unsecured locations, such as the garage of his home.
‘He didn’t remember when he was vice president, he forgot on the first day of the interview when his term ended (“if it was 2013, when did I stop being vice president?”), and he forgot the second day of the interview. when he began his term (“in 2009, am I still vice president?”),’ his report said.
“He couldn’t remember, even after several years, when his son Beau died.”
The details have once again put Biden’s advanced age in the spotlight at a time when he is running for a second term in the White House, a term that would take him to 86 years old.
Republicans are demanding that transcripts of interviews with the special counsel and his team be made public.
Jean-Pierre said the White House counsel’s office was looking into the issue.
Special prosecutor Robert Hur spent a year investigating files found in President Joe Biden’s home and former office. He said Biden’s status as president meant he could not be prosecuted.
The report details lapses in Biden’s memory, both in conversations with his ghostwriter and with researchers. The bottom line is that jurors may have thought she made an innocent mistake.
‘I simply have nothing to share with you right now. “It’s not a no or a yes,” he said.
‘We are analyzing this. There are processes, there are protocols.’
Last week, Ian Sams, a spokesman for the attorney’s office, did not rule out releasing transcripts redacted to exclude classified material.
“I don’t have any announcement about anything being released today, but it’s a reasonable question and there were things classified and we have to work through all of that,” he said.
He also said Hur had gone far beyond the scope of the investigation and ignored Justice Department guidelines.
“The Department of Justice has its own procedures manual,” he said. “And… you’re not supposed to criticize uncharged conduct when you make these determinations.”