Dems Are Quietly Telling Team Biden He Has To Be Out In Public More After Special Counsel Report

Photo edit of President Biden.
Photo edit of President Biden.

Democrats are quietly pushing President Joe Biden’s aides to have the president engage more frequently with the public following Thursday night’s turbulent press conference in response to a special counsel report, according to Politico.

In his report assessing whether Biden previously mishandled classified documents as a private citizen, special counsel Robert Hur made reference to Biden’s advanced age and repeated mental lapses. Biden subsequently held the Thursday press conference to address Hur’s report and proceeded to mix up the presidents of Mexico and Egypt, bringing even more attention to his mental state and prompting Democratic insiders to warn Biden’s team against retreating in the face of renewed scrutiny of Biden’s cognitive state, Politico reported.

Hur’s report describes Biden as a “well-meaning, elderly man with poor memory” who could not readily recall the years that he served as vice president or when his son passed away. These details appeared to infuriate Biden, while the White House and elected Democrats have mobilized to support the president by charging that the report’s language was gratuitous and motivated by Hur’s supposed partisanship.

 

Concerns about Biden’s mental fitness to serve as the leader of the free world have been persistent. A 2021 poll found that less than 50% of respondents considered Biden to be mentally stable enough for the job, and a November 2023 poll indicated that a majority of Americans think that he is neither mentally nor physically fit to serve.

“I would flood the zone, and I felt the same with Hillary [Clinton]. Because if you don’t, then the smallest thing becomes too easy for people and the media to focus on,” Philippe Reines, a former adviser to failed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, told Politico. “The answer to the president is not to put him out there zero times to prevent zero things. It’s to go out there, and have him say whatever it is.”

Democrats are saying that the best way to counter and potentially neutralize concerns about Biden’s mental competence is to put him out in public more frequently to interact with voters and the press in unscripted situations, even though there are political risks involved, according to Politico.

“What we saw [Thursday] night was so rare, because we don’t get too many of these moments and opportunities where he’s off script, and he’s engaged in the back and forth, particularly in a prime-time setting,” Faiz Shakir, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign manager, told Politico.

Notably, Biden passed on a chance to sit down with CBS News for a televised interview that would air ahead of the Super Bowl, one of the most-watched American television programs every year.

“He’s going to have to come a little bit out of his shell and be more available, whether it’s press conferences or traveling around and meeting with people,” Alan Patricof, a major Democratic donor, told Politico.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Nick Pope on February 10, 2024


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