Joe Biden’s age is a problem, or more aptly, his frailty is. That’s been the story percolating within the mainstream press, which once prided itself on protecting the sitting president at any cost.
Recent accommodations have been made, including having Biden use the shorter belly stairs to board Air Force One. In response to official inquiries, his aides claim it’s just a coincidence of circumstances.
The White House did not directly answer a question about whether Biden was using the shorter staircase to minimize the chance of a fall. An aide said the choice comes down to the weather, the airport and whether the press wants a photo on the tarmac with official greeters. (There was no rain Thursday when Biden took the shorter staircase at Joint Base Andrews.)
But privately, his aides are leaking that the president’s recent fall at the Air Force Academy commencement is the driving factor for a whole host of new protections being put in place.
Joe Biden’s aides realized they had a problem last month when the president tripped over a sandbag — hard — at the Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony. Afterward, a few huddled to figure out what may have gone wrong and how to make sure that such an embarrassing and dangerous incident “never happens again,” according to two people familiar with the discussion.
“You can’t be too careful,” one said.
In the weeks following Biden’s hard fall, his use of the shorter stairs to board Air Force One went up to 84 percent compared to just 37 percent in the weeks before. That’s a significant jump that can’t be explained by weather or location, especially when it’s noted that he’s now using them at Joint Base Andrews as well.
It’s not just his inability to navigate steps, though. The escalation in the use of overly detailed notecards, even in the most awkward of settings along with Biden outright skipping evening events abroad are also part of a plan to limit the exposure of his ongoing descent into senility.
Biden seems to be preserving his energy in other ways. It’s customary on foreign trips for the president to schmooze with other leaders at dinners once the meetings are over. Less formal and structured than the events preceding them, the dinners offer a chance for leaders to bond, talk through differences or amplify a point. On two recent international trips, Biden has chosen to skip the nighttime socializing.
What’s more likely? That the president with one of the lightest schedules in modern history is really just working hard behind the scenes, doing midnight briefings and spending his evenings cramming briefing books? Or that he’s simply unable to consistently perform his duties after the sun goes down, including attending high-profile dinners?
Biden’s aides have descended into willful delusion, gaslighting the American people about the true nature of the situation.
In any case, said Jonathan Finer, a deputy national security adviser at the White House, “The dinners at these events are about relationship building. He has done the work over a long period of time to build these relationships outside of the summit. So, it’s less important for him to spend downtime with the other leaders than it is for people who are newer to the scene or have not invested in building these relationships.”
That’s a farcical explanation. A dinner with all the leaders at the NATO Summit, which the president was absent from recently, is not just a chance to shoot the bull. It’s a chance to formulate strategies before the official proceedings begin. It’s also a chance to show solidarity and strength on the world stage. What does it say to Russia when the President of the United States can’t even make it to dinner because he’s obviously too fatigued to attend despite being at the beach some days prior?
Still, Biden’s aides continue to insist that his age is actually a “superpower.”
“Joe Biden’s age is his superpower, and as I’ve seen firsthand, his fastball is as good as ever,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, the movie mogul and co-chair of Biden’s campaign.
His fastball is “as good as ever,” Biden’s campaign co-chair proclaims. Does anyone believe that? Because all evidence is to the contrary. We are basically at a point where the White House and those adjacent to it are expecting everyone to ignore everything they can actually see in favor of tales about how supposedly sharp the president is behind the scenes.
For example, Marty Walsh is quoted telling this story from 2021.
Marty Walsh, the former secretary of labor, recalled an instance in 2021 when he was riding with Biden to an event at a Hummer plant in Michigan, and the president began dictating revisions to his planned speech off the top of his head.
“I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I wish more people could see this,’” he said.
“The president isn’t falling down every day, for crying out loud,” Walsh continued. “If you’ve ever given him a hug, you’re going to feel the man is solid. He’s in good shape.”
The problems are obvious. For one, it’s not 2021 anymore, and Biden’s decline has become noticeably worse. Secondly, are people supposed to be impressed that the president dictated some changes to a speech “off the top of his head?” That’s something any adult would be expected to be able to do. Lastly, I have no reason to believe that story given the amount of dishonesty shown about Biden’s condition.
The Europeans don’t seem to be buying the smoke and mirrors either.
“Physically, he’s quite frail and he falls off his bicycle, or whatever,” said a former Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk more freely. “He doesn’t have the stamina levels of an Obama or a younger president. People worry about his physical frailty and running from age 82 to 86” — the age Biden would be at the end of a second term. “That is really old by European standards. Really, really old. We don’t have anyone that age.”
The reality is that Biden’s unfitness for office is becoming more and more difficult to hide. There’s only so much that can be done without simply barring him from all public appearances. That means the falls will continue at some level, and certainly, the mental decline will continue to be displayed.
How does that play in next year’s election? Biden’s aides hope to be able to institute another low-effort campaign whereby the election is a referendum on the Republican nominee. Whether that works or not will be up to the voters.