President Joe Biden faced two embarrassing moments within just 24 hours, drawing attention from Republicans who question his ability to lead effectively during a second term. These incidents highlight concerns about the 80-year-old president’s mental acumen, as he seeks re-election in November 2024. Let’s delve into these incidents.
First, on Wednesday afternoon, President Biden attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York alongside Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and International Labor Organization Director-General Gilbert Houngbo. After his speech, a notable moment unfolded when Biden appeared to forget to shake hands with President da Silva. He shook hands with Houngbo and then left the stage, leaving his Brazilian counterpart visibly annoyed.
This incident quickly became a focal point for Republicans, who have been raising concerns about Biden’s cognitive abilities. A recent CBS/YouGov poll found that only 34 percent of American voters believe Biden will serve a full second term if re-elected, while 55 percent have more confidence in Donald Trump, the current Republican frontrunner.
Then, on Thursday evening, President Biden addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 46th Annual Gala. During his speech, he accused Republicans of undermining border security and blocking bipartisan reform. However, Biden made an apparent mix-up when he paid tribute to Sister Norma Pimentel, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, who had just received an award. Biden seemed to confuse his audience by linking her work to lessons he learned from nuns and his father. He then referred to the Congressional Black Caucus, seemingly unaware of his mistake.
Another incident that raised eyebrows occurred when Biden spoke at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, on the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He claimed to have been at Ground Zero in New York the day after the towers collapsed, describing it as if he had been there. However, there are no records of Biden being in New York on September 12, 2001. A White House spokesperson later confirmed that Biden visited Ground Zero as part of a Senate delegation on September 20 but made no comment regarding his assertion about September 12.
These gaffes join a list of past verbal slips, including one in October 2022 when Biden incorrectly referred to himself as the father of a man who “lost his life in Iraq.” This was presumably a reference to his eldest son, Beau Biden, who served in Iraq but died of cancer in Maryland.
It’s important to note that former President Trump, at the age of 77, has also been prone to gaffes. He has criticized Biden’s cognitive abilities, calling him “cognitively impaired,” and made a notable slip when he mistakenly mentioned “World War II” instead of the intended reference to another conflict during a recent event.
In conclusion, these recent incidents involving President Biden’s gaffes have fueled debates and concerns about his fitness for a second term. They add to a growing list of verbal missteps that have been scrutinized by his political opponents, highlighting the ongoing debate over the mental acumen of political leaders.