President Biden attempted to defend his mental acuity in a press conference Thursday night that a host of media outlets are rating as politically damaging to the president.
The president gave a brief address to the nation from the White House on Thursday night where he took a barrage of questions from reporters regarding concerns over his age and memory. The latest developments stemmed from Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on Biden’s handling of classified documents. Shortly after insisting that his memory was “fine,” Biden proceeded to refer to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the “president of Mexico.”
Biden also appeared visibly angered when responding to claims in Hur’s report that Biden did not remember when his son Beau died.
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The New York Times called the event a “political disaster.”
Axios wrote that Biden’s performance Thursday night was a nightmare for his staff.
“For years now, President Biden’s advisers have carefully choreographed his every move to avoid what exploded into view over six hours Thursday: a vivid display of an elderly, irritable man struggling on a public stage,” Axios reported.
The outlet also called Biden’s press conference “shaky,” interviewing lawmakers who agreed that the president’s recent gaffes call into doubt his ability to win re-election.
“One House Democrat called Biden’s verbal slip-ups ‘awful,’ and wondered why the president’s staff allowed him to hold a press conference — then field reporters’ shouted questions — ‘that late at night after a full day,’ instead of Friday morning, when he’d be ‘fresh,'” Axios reported.
A former Biden White House official told Axios that the president’s press conference was “[b]rutal.”
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The Guardian reported that Biden was “combative, emotional and then – not for the first time – took one question too many and paid the price.”
“It was then that, having protested his memory is all good and his age is not an issue, that Biden put his foot in it again, mistakenly referring to Egypt’s leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as ‘the president of Mexico’. This followed his assertions that in recent days he met François Mitterrand of France and Helmut Kohl of Germany when both were already dead.”
Business Insider summed up the press conference as being a “bad night for a furious Biden.”
The Washington Post described Biden’s performance as full of “fury” when he was speaking about his son Beau’s death, referenced in Hur’s report.
The report revealed Biden had a “hazy” memory about when he was previously in office and when his son Beau died. “In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse,” the report states. “He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 — when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’).”
Politico reacted to Hur’s report, calling it a “withering assessment of Joe Biden’s mental acuity.”
Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.
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