Skip to main content

It’s not just Joe Biden’s memory that’s going - it’s his second term too

The 81-year-old US president is increasingly frail with a hazy memory. But the Democratic elite don’t want to know
US President Joe Biden looks at his watch as he arrives at a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House, 12 February 2024 in Washington, DC (AFP)

You can hear the sound of panic in Democratic circles as it becomes increasingly clear that Joe Biden is not fit to run for a second term as president.

When the Justice Department report by special counsel Robert Hur last week described Biden as a "sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory”, adding that his recollection was “hazy”, "faulty" and "poor", all hell broke loose.

Hur’s investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents acquitted him of wrongdoing but much more damaging was the description of his mental capacity. No sooner had the report been released than the entire liberal media establishment went into overdrive with confected outrage to deflect and dismiss the threat the report posed to his second term.

“Democrats throughout the nation are panicking at all levels… [they] don’t want to lose the power they have and they definitely don’t want Donald Trump back in office,” Democrat strategist Hank Schienkopf told the BBC.

But the liberal media’s desperate attempts to defend the genocide-enabling presidency of Biden cannot hide or gloss how “significantly limited” the 81-year-old’s mental capacity is.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


The report’s findings could not have come at a worse time. Even for a president famous for his gaffes and senior moments, last week saw Biden claim to have spoken to two long-dead world leaders and state that another was a president from another continent.

At the end of an unscheduled press conference called to refute the claims in the report, Biden referred to President Sisi of Egypt as "president of Mexico". 

A day earlier, Biden mixed up the dead and the living, claiming to have spoken to Francois Mitterand, the late president of France, at a recent G7 meeting, and Helmut Kohl, the late chancellor of Germany, in 2021, four years after Kohl died.

How long can this unseemly, cruel pantomime go on for? For the Democratic elite, the answer is at least until he is securely re-elected and their sinecures are safe

In truth, Biden doesn’t so much not recall past events as conjure up events that never happened, or mix up recent events with much older ones. But according to one pro-Biden pundit, his cognitive impairment doesn't matter as long as the president's aides are in charge: "Well, if [Biden is] controlled by advisers, is that unacceptable? If the advisers are making good decisions? Reagan was pretty senile and controlled by advisers. Everybody’s forgotten this, but the accounts of his mental state are harrowing. Nobody cared because the results were fine." 

How long can this unseemly, cruel pantomime go on for? For the liberal press and Democratic elite, the answer is at least until he is securely re-elected and their sinecures are safe.

In case the general public begins to think that Biden has lost it, the Guardian’s chief opinion writers came to the rescue. Under the headline ‘Lest we forget: one confuses names, and the other led a coup’, Marina Hyde admitted that Biden’s recent public appearances are full of unforced errors, or not being able to find his way off the stage, while insisting that Trump will be “infinitely worse”. Tell that to a Palestinian mother grieving a child killed by Biden’s bombs in Gaza.  

Some may feel sympathy for Biden, but not Arab-American voters who have seen him use emergency powers to hand over lethal weaponry to Israel for its war in Gaza, where more than 35,000 Palestinians are dead or missing, and almost 70,000 injured, probably the highest civilian casualty rate this century. Not for nothing is he labelled “Genocide Joe” at mass pro-Palestine protests across America every week.

Keep Biden

At the moment the praetorian guard of the presidency and its outriders are trying to limit the damage by accusing Hur, a Republican, of overstepping his jurisdiction by providing a neurological assessment of the president, and accusing him of partisanship.

“We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate,” said a White House spokesperson. He accused Hur of using “highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses - a lack of recall of years old events.”

Biden called Sisi the 'president of Mexico'. It turned a meme into reality
Read More »

The establishment hacks are acting like Biden is the king and the laws of lese majesty that apply to his royal highness have been broken.

But the Democratic establishment only have themselves to blame for this election year imbroglio.  

Let’s not forget that Biden has pursued a policy of arming Israel in its war of annihilation against the Palestinians of Gaza, bombing militias in Iraq, Syria and the Houthis in Yemen, spending $111bn on arms and aid for Ukraine - plus a new $60bn package - against Russia, and challenging China in the South China Sea. Neither Ukraine nor the Gaza war are popular and, even without the latest neurological crisis, Biden's polling was falling behind Trump.

Dean Phillips, a Democratic congressman and presidential hopeful, said the Hur report had “all but handed Trump the presidency”. “The report simply affirms what most Americans already know that the president cannot continue to serve as our commander in chief beyond his term ending 20 January 2025.”

Right-wing Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy said: "Joe Biden will not be the nominee. I said this last year, people dismissed it as some type of conspiracy theory. Today I think it became that much more obvious.”

King Biden

In case anyone doubts that Biden’s mental condition has deteriorated, just take a look at how clear and confidently he spoke in a CNN interview in 2016, with an easy mastery of his subject - light years from how he is now. There’s none of his doddering, somewhat confused manner that we have seen so many times in recent months.

The US presidential system has elements that resemble a constitutional monarchy, including a great deal of reverence for the president, and a lot of courtly hangers on and officials whose job it is to defend the presidency at all costs.

Members of the activist group Jewish Voice for Peace join others in protesting President Joe Biden's visit to Manhattan due to his continued support for Israel in its war against Palestinians in Gaza on February 07, 2024 in New York City.
Members of the activist group Jewish Voice for Peace join others in protesting President Joe Biden's visit to Manhattan, NYC, due to his continued support for Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza (AFP)

In other ways the US increasingly resembles a corrupt presidential republic where an ageing head of state is visibly declining but the system is determined to keep him in office. Rather like Algeria’s former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was put forward to stand for a fifth term despite being unable to walk, rarely seen publicly, and almost catatonic.

But then, the Algerian people rose up against this move by “le pouvoir” and Bouteflika was forced to step down.

For more radical critics, the question of Biden is immaterial. The imperial presidency is a facade and it doesn't matter who is in charge because the permanent bureaucracy runs everything. To a degree the Trump presidency almost proved this: his most outlandish ideas were often blocked, and his limited attempt to end the forever wars were stymied by the military establishment.

What Democrats ought to do is to convince Biden to announce he won’t run, allow genuine primaries between now and June, and find a new candidate

Biden and Trump are both elderly, and we will be told repeatedly that Biden is fine and if he misspeaks it's within the "normal range" and Trump is no different. Trump is also gaffe-prone and speaks his own weird form of semi-literate English, but he’s a youth at the height of his powers compared to Biden.

And there are genuine reasons to fear that Trump will seek to turn America's broken, money-controlled "democracy" into a one-man dictatorship. But that's not a sufficient reason for voters to back a discredited, mentally declining Biden.

As ever, the Democratic establishment, rather than offer a genuine alternative to a presidency that primarily serves corporate donors and the military-industrial complex, would rather have a coronation of an 81-year-old with an ever-diminishing ability to know who he’s talking to.

What they ought to do is to convince Biden to announce he won’t run, allow genuine primaries between now and June, find a new candidate, and face Trump with fresh blood. All possible - after all the Soviet Union managed to find Mikhail Gorbachev after three ageing leaders died in office. 

Most probably, the Democratic elite, like an 18th-century royal court, will do everything to keep Biden in place and go down in flames to Trump in November.

Joe Gill has worked as a journalist in London, Oman, Venezuela and the US, for newspapers including Financial Times, Morning Star and Middle East Eye. His Masters was in Politics of the World Economy at the London School of Economics. Twitter @gill_joe
Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.