Amid a tumultuous week for the Democratic Party, Joe Biden faced one of his worst moments in the presidency. On Thursday, just as he was basking in the good news of being exonerated by special prosecutor Robert Hur in a probe into mishandled classified documents, his mental health came under scrutiny once again. The report from Hur described Biden as an “old man with a bad memory,” and it touched on a sensitive and explosive nerve in this presidential campaign: his cognitive abilities.
At 81 years old, Biden is the oldest president to ever serve, and he is also the oldest to run for re-election. If he is successful in winning another term, he would be 86 at the end of his presidency. With Hur’s damning words ringing in their ears, Republicans launched into full attack mode, questioning Biden’s mental fitness and invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.
In response to all the commotion surrounding him, Biden decided to hold an impromptu press conference at the White House late at night. His goal was to reassure Americans that his memory was fine and that Hur’s report was flawed. But during this ill-advised appearance, Biden stumbled over his words and gave emotional and wrong answers to questions about Gaza and other topics. This only served to further bolster doubts about his cognitive abilities and temperament when people were looking for stability and reason on these matters.
“The issue of Biden’s physical and mental capabilities is undoubtedly one of his biggest obstacles,” said Clarion Christopher Arterton, Professor Emeritus of Political Management at George Washington University. “Some of the language used in Hur’s report hit on this problem directly