Nonpartisan report warns of Biden’s rapid decline behind closed doors: ‘He’s not the same person’

A new report on President Joe Biden’s behavior behind closed doors set the White House on defense over “false claims.”

“I used to meet with him…He’s not the same person.”

Drawing the curtain back at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the image of Oz the Great and Powerful only further diminished the already bleak public perception. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal on first-hand accounts of meetings, including from this year, even congressional leaders expressed concerns that “the president’s memory had slipped.”

“He read from notes to make obvious points, paused for extended periods and sometimes closed his eyes for so long that some in the room wondered whether he had tuned out,” the Journal reported concerning a January meeting to hash out details over funding for Ukraine.

“In a February one-on-one chat in the Oval Office with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), the president said a recent policy change by his administration that jeopardizes some big energy projects was just a study, according to six people at the time,” it went on. “Johnson worried the president’s memory had slipped about the details of his own policy.”

Among the 45 bipartisan interviews that included members of Congress who’d attended meetings with Biden and those briefed on them at the time, as well as administration officials, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recounted, “I used to meet with him when he was vice president. I’d go to his house. He’s not the same person.”

What’s more, the article suggested the administration even leaned on some Democrats to prop up the president after details or recordings of their interviews had been shared with the White House before secondary interviews were conducted with the newspaper where they “once again emphasized Biden’s strengths.”

“They just, you know, said that I should give you a callback,” said Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY).

The Journal report was released as the Department of Justice defended withholding the audio of Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur out of concern that artificial intelligence could be employed to alter the president’s words.

“If the audio recording is released,” Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer reportedly said in a court filing, “it is easy to foresee that it could be improperly altered and that the altered file could be passed off as an authentic recording and widely distributed.”

That interview over Biden’s handling of classified documents had been part of Hur’s decision not to recommend charges based on the executive being an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

Meanwhile, as the president’s blunders included naming years-long dead public figures like French President François Mitterand, who passed in 1996, as someone he’d spoken with during his administration, White House spokesman Andrew Bates continued to argue concerns over Biden’s mental acuity were little more than partisan attacks.

“Congressional Republicans, foreign leaders, and nonpartisan national security experts have made clear in their own words that President Biden is a savvy and effective leader who has a deep record of legislative accomplishment,” said the spokesman to the Journal. “Now, in 2024, House Republicans are making false claims as a political tactic that flatly contradict previous statements made by themselves and their colleagues.”

By contrast, Sen. James Risch (R-ID), an attendee of the Ukraine meeting, told the newspaper, “What you see on TV is what you get. These people who keep talking about what a dynamo he is behind closed doors–they need to get him out from behind closed doors, because I didn’t see it.”

Kevin Haggerty

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