On Thursday, the report by special prosecutor Robert Hur exonerated President Biden of any wrongdoing in the mishandling of classified documents when he left the vice presidency. However, Hur’s report also raised concerns about Biden’s mental health, stating that he “didn’t even remember” when his son Beau died and describing him as having a “bad memory.” This was a major blow to Biden, who is 81 years old and running for re-election at the age of 86.
The report touched on a sensitive nerve in this presidential campaign: Biden’s mental health. With his stutter and occasional confusion, some critics have questioned whether he has the cognitive abilities to lead the country for another four years. Some have even suggested invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office if necessary.
In an attempt to control damage, Biden went out for an impromptu press conference at the White House on Friday night. However, his answers were often emotional and confused, leaving more doubts about his mental acuity and temperament. One particularly memorable moment came when he mixed up former French president François Mitterrand with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto during a discussion about Gaza.
Professor Emeritus Christopher Arterton at George Washington University said that Biden’s age is a significant factor in his re-election prospects. He noted that some phrases in Hur’s report touched on this issue and described Biden as having “diminished capabilities.” Arterton added that recent mistakes have only heightened concerns about Biden’s ability to govern effectively for another four years.
Despite strong economic performance, many Americans express growing doubts about Biden’s ability to lead due to his age. This has been particularly damaging for Democrats because Trump has avoided directly attacking him on this issue so far due to their shared generational background and out of respect for older Republicans who tend to support him more than younger Democrats. However, Trump has still made mistakes and confused characters himself in various situations, which could hurt him in future elections as well.