Washington — Joe Biden’s Republican rivals are pouncing on questions about his mental acuity, following a verbal slip by the U.S. president that has exacerbated Democrats’ anxiety about his age.
“Biden’s not going to be any sharper in November,” said Jason Miller, senior adviser to the Trump campaign in a statement to VOA. The campaign released a statement saying, “Joe Biden isn’t just senile, he put our national security at risk.”
Former President Donald Trump has a commanding lead in the Republican primaries and is likely to become the party’s nominee, despite facing 91 felony indictments in various federal and state criminal cases.
The campaign of Nikki Haley, who is trailing Trump, released a statement that Biden “should take a mental competency test immediately” and make it public.
“Joe Biden can’t remember major events in his life, like when he was vice president or when his son died,” Nikki Haley said. “That is sad, but it will be even sadder if we have a person in the White House who is not mentally up to the most important job in the world.”
Biden’s verbal slip
Republicans launched their renewed attacks after the president made a verbal slip Thursday evening, mistakenly referring to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as “the president of Mexico” while he was highlighting efforts he made to secure aid for the people of Gaza.
The gaffe happened while Biden was pushing back against reporters’ questioning on a special counsel’s report about his mishandling of classified documents that noted his lapses in memory, citing examples of him being unable to recall defining moments in his own life, such as when he served as vice president or when his son Beau passed away.
“My memory is fine,” a visibly angry Biden shot back as he denied forgetting when his son died. Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.
Three-quarters of voters, including half of Democrats, say they have concerns about Biden’s mental and physical health, according to an NBC News poll released this week.
Less than half of voters have concerns about Trump’s mental and physical health according to the same poll, despite his multiple flubs. During a campaign event earlier this month Trump appeared to mistakenly refer to his rival Haley as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when discussing the Jan. 6, 2021. He has previously mixed up Biden and former President Barack Obama.
Special Counsel Robert Hur has determined that Biden will not be charged for mishandling classified documents. However, Hur’s characterization of the president’s memory is likely to provide Biden’s Republican rivals ammunition in their messaging that he is unable to lead the country.
Trump, who is under federal indictment with 37 felony counts related to the mishandling of classified documents, obstructing justice and making false statements, sharpened his attack on Biden’s handling of the documents.
He called Biden’s case “100 times different and more severe than mine,” charging in a campaign statement Thursday that there is “a two-tiered system of justice and unconstitutional selective prosecution!” and “election interference.”
In his report, Hur pre-empted such assertions.
“Unlike the evidence involving Mr. Biden, the allegations set forth in the indictment of Mr. Trump, if proven, would present serious aggravating facts,” the report noted. “Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite.”