‘An Elderly Man with a Poor Memory’: Biden’s Age Takes Center Stage After Special Counsel Report, Verbal Missteps

President Joe Biden’s age and ability to serve as president are under scrutiny after a special counsel report said Biden had willfully mishandled classified information yet his “faulty memory” would make it difficult to bring political charges.


President Joe Biden’s age and ability to serve as president are under scrutiny after a special counsel report said Biden had willfully mishandled classified information yet his “faulty memory” would make it difficult to bring political charges.

  • Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report detailed how carelessly Biden handled classified information he kept at his home in Delaware. Investigators found classified documents in a damaged cardboard box in his garage and discovered that Biden read classified notes aloud to his ghostwriter on at least three separate occasions.
  • However, Hur said in the report that bringing charges against Biden and securing a conviction would be nearly impossible as a jury would see him as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
  • Hur pointed out Biden forgot the years that his time as vice president began and ended, and forgot the year his son Beau Biden died.
  • “How in the hell dare he raise that?” a furious Biden asked at a press conference held later Thursday. Biden claimed his response, under oath during a formal interview, was somehow not any of Hur’s business.
  • At a hastily scheduled news conference after the report’s release, a visibly angry Biden only added fuel to the fire by mistakenly referring to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the “president of Mexico.”
  • Biden’s stumble at the Thursday evening press conference echoes two other missteps from earlier this week when the president twice mistakenly referred to dead European leaders instead of their very much alive successors.
  • On Sunday, Biden mistakenly referred to Francois Mitterand, the former French president who died in 1996, instead of Emmanuel Macron, the incumbent president. On Wednesday, he claimed he discussed the Jan. 6 riots with Helmut Kohl, the former German chancellor who died in 2017. Biden presumably meant to refer to Angela Merkel, the then-chancellor.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • “The decision on Thursday not to file criminal charges against President Biden for mishandling classified documents should have been an unequivocal legal exoneration,” wrote the New York Times’ Michael D. Shear. “Instead, it was a political disaster.” Shear added, “the report refuted the longstanding argument by the president’s lawyers that Mr. Biden never put the nation’s national security at risk. Investigators found documents at Mr. Biden’s home in a ‘box in the garage, near a collapsed dog crate, a dog bed, a Zappos box, an empty bucket, a broken lamp wrapped with duct tape, potting soil and synthetic firewood.’”
  • The Washington Post observed the “scathing picture of Biden’s memory” that the report paints “could reopen a line of attack that Biden’s team has tried hard to tamp down.” The Post elaborated, “One reason prosecutors concluded they would have trouble pursuing a case was that a jury might see Biden as an appealing — if forgetful — senior citizen.”
  • CNN covered how “Biden’s attempt at damage control quickly spun out of control.” At the press conference, “Biden appeared fired up and passionate. But at the same time, his angry demeanor and an event which appeared to quickly spin out of his control, with reporters shouting questions as he struggled to interrupt, may have ended up exacerbating the very questions about his age that it was meant to dispel.”



  • The Wall Street Journal broke down the biggest takeaways from Hur’s report. The Journal noted, “There are other references to Biden’s memory that suggest a notable decline. When he was interviewed by investigators in October 2023, Biden couldn’t remember the dates when he was vice president, including exactly when his term ended, according to the report. It said Biden also struggled to remember details about Afghanistan policy, including properly recalling whether a key figure agreed or disagreed with his own position.”
  • “I’m finally beginning to believe it’s possible Joe Biden steps down,” wrote National Review’s Jeffrey Blehar after Biden “babbled nearly nonsensically for several minutes” at his press conference. “Many friends whom I seriously respect have told me that it is simply impossible — as a political matter, as a risk in November — to force Joe Biden to step back from running for reelection in such a rush,” Blehar added. “After tonight, however, expect a boomlet of pleas for Biden — here, at the very last hour — to pull an LBJ.”
  • “With Biden’s mental acuity becoming an undeniable problem, Democrats will have to figure out what to do with a vice president who’s even more unpopular than him,” wrote the Federalist’s Mark Hemingway. The vice president “seems to defy the laws of political physics by existing in two categories at the same time — she’s both actively disliked by voters and an almost complete nonentity when it comes to exerting any influence on policy or politics.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023