fullscreen President Joe Biden’s memory and abilities are being questioned by investigators who investigated, but dropped charges, into Biden’s private handling of classified documents. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP/TT
New misstatements and a report about his private handling of classified documents, which claims President Biden’s memory isn’t up to snuff, cast new light on whether Biden is fit for re-election.
– There is nothing wrong with my memory, countered Joe Biden at a hastily convened press conference in the White House on Thursday, referring to the report’s statements about himself as a well-meaning, elderly man with a bad memory.
– I know very well what I’m doing, said Biden.
Shortly afterwards, however, when answering questions about another topic – the war in Gaza – he was talking about the president of Mexico when he meant Egypt’s.
In the past week, Biden has said at one point that he met former French President Mitterand, when he meant Emmanuel Macron, at a G7 meeting in Britain in 2021 and a day or so later that, at the same meeting, he met German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, when the one he met was Angela Merkel.
The likely challenger to Biden this fall, former President Donald Trump, has also been guilty of sensational mix-ups in public, but now most of the light falls on the 81-year-old Joe Biden rather than the 77-year-old Trump.
At the press conference, Biden commented on special investigator Robert Hur’s report on how he handled classified documents in private during periods between offices as senator and vice president, before his time as president.
Investigator Robert Hur was appointed by Trump as a Republican prosecutor in Maryland in 2017. But it was Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, who asked him to review Biden’s handling of classified documents.
Robert Hur believes that there is no basis for prosecution that could lead to a conviction. But Hur also devotes some space to describing, not so flatteringly, his view of Biden’s abilities and how he would appear before a jury that would decide whether he had done something criminal.
“Mr. Biden would likely present himself to the jury as he did to us – a likable, well-meaning older man with a poor memory,” Hur writes in the report.