Last July, Axios ran a piece about President Joe Biden’s temper with his White House aides. Instead of framing this as “Old Man Yells at Cloud”-style fare, it was supposed to emphasize how the then-80-year-old president could outsmart his own aides.
“Biden’s temper comes in the form of angry interrogations rather than erratic tantrums,” Axios’ Alex Thompson claimed.
“He’ll grill aides on topics until it’s clear they don’t know the answer to a question — a routine that some see as meticulous and others call ‘stump the chump’ or ‘stump the dummy.’
“Being yelled at by the president has become an internal initiation ceremony in this White House, aides say — if Biden doesn’t yell at you, it could be a sign he doesn’t respect you.”
“If there is something that’s not in the brief, he’s going to find it,” said Biden’s longtime chief of staff during his time in the Senate, Ted Kaufman. “It’s not to embarrass people, it’s because he wants to get to the right decision. Most people who have worked for him like the fact that he challenges them and gets them to a better decision.”
That’s ol’ Joe. Always outsmarting his aides. Why, he was just testing them when he called Abdel Fattah el-Sissi the president of Mexico!
That “test” came during a media briefing arranged on Thursday evening after that afternoon’s release of special counsel Robert Hur’s report regarding the president’s retention of classified documents from his time as vice president after he left the White House.
The reason for the ersatz briefing wasn’t that Hur recommended that Biden be charged; in fact, quite the opposite. Rather, it was why Hur recommended that Biden not be charged: “We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur’s report read.
“Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”
Is Biden mentally fit for office?
Boy, Uncle Joe was going to show them.
“Now, look, my memory has not gotten — my memory is fine. My memory — take a look at what I’ve done since I’ve become president. None of you thought I could pass any of the things I got passed. How did that happen?” Biden said during the media briefing, according to a White House transcript. “You know, I guess I just forgot what was going on.”
Ho, ho. And then we got onto the stuff that wasn’t scripted by speechwriters, where he was forced to address the allegations. The first was when he was forced to explain why he couldn’t remember “even within several years” the date when his son Beau Biden had died during his talks with the special counsel.
“There’s even reference that I don’t remember when my son died. How in the hell dare he raise that. Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business,” the president said.
“Let me tell you something. Some of you have commented — I wear since the day he died, every single day, the rosary he got from Our Lady of …”
Except he ran out of steam. Happens to all of us. I mean, all of us with compromised memories:
Joe Biden forgets where his dead son’s rosary is from and freezes. It’s like Democrats ordered the code red today. pic.twitter.com/k8z1GtasaB
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 9, 2024
But things got more worrying from there. During the press briefing, Biden fielded a question about the hostage negotiations in the Gaza Strip.
“I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza — in the Gaza Strip has been over the top,” Biden said. “As you know, initially, the president of Mexico, el Sissi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in. I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate.”
HARD TO WATCH: While defending his mental acuity and memory loss, Biden mistakenly refers to Egyptian President El-Sisi as the President of Mexico pic.twitter.com/dTcX6m00BO
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 9, 2024
Mexico, which is not anywhere near the Gaza Strip, is under the control of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Egypt is led by Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
Nor is this the first time he’s gotten world leaders mixed up in recent weeks — and in a lower-stress environment to boot.
Take a speech in Nevada in which he tried to assure people that he had brought America back to prominence on the world stage.
“You know, right — right after I was elected, I went to what they call a G7 meeting, all the NATO leaders,” the president said. “And it was in — it was in the south of England. And I sat down and I said, ‘America is back.’
“And Mitterrand, from Germany — I mean, from France, looked at me and said — said, ‘You know, what — why — how long you back for?’”
François Mitterrand was from France, yes. The Socialist Party president led the country from 1981 until 1995 and died in 1996. Having been dead for almost 30 years now, he is naturally no longer in charge of the Fifth Republic; Emmanuel Macron is, and has held the office since 2017.
“I See Dead People” – Here’s President Joe Biden, Leader of the Free World, talking about his meeting in 2021 at the G7 with former French President François Mitterrand.
Problem is, Mitterrand DIED in 1996!
— Conservative Brief (@ConservBrief) February 6, 2024
But his memory is so sharp that he can outsmart his aides. Why, he can even outsmart Fox News’ Peter Doocy, who he made the mistake of calling on during the media briefing:
BIDEN TO FOX NEWS’ PETER DOOCY: “My memory is so bad, I let you speak!”
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 9, 2024
“How bad is your memory, and can you continue as president?” Doocy asked.
“My memory is so bad that I let you speak,” Biden responded.
Perhaps those “outbursts” aren’t the sign of a man who’s outsmarted his aides. Instead, maybe — and I’m just spitballing here — they’re the frustrated, unfiltered vociferations of a man who can be outsmarted by anyone with something passing for smarts. Or, for that matter, a miniature dachshund.
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