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We need a serious conversation about Joe Biden’s brain

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, President Biden falsely claimed that Russia is at war with Iraq. Russia is at war with Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “is clearly losing the war in Iraq.” Biden told the press pool, “losing the war at home. And he’s become a bit of an outcast around the world.”

On Tuesday, during an unrelated fundraising event in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Biden made the exact same mistake, confusing Ukraine with Iraq.

“If someone told you … that we could bring all of Europe together in the attack on Iraq and get NATO completely united.” said the president“I think they would have told you it’s not likely.”

While many reporters did a good job this week highlighting the president’s apparent confusion regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one can’t help but feel as though the news industry as a whole is avoiding the obvious follow up question. I mean, “Is Biden okay?”

Nor is it an unfair question, given that the Iraq/Ukraine gaffes were not an isolated series of incidents. They are simply the latest in a series of strange, confusing and mostly unintelligible statements from Biden in the much longer series of strange, confusing and mostly unintelligible statements that have come to define the Biden presidency.

“We have plans to build a railway from the Pacific to the entire Indian Ocean,” the president said said this month during a speech before the League of Conservation Voters.

There is no such plan, of course, to build a railroad from the Pacific coast to the Indian Ocean. According to his White House officials, the president was referring to a plan that would connect railroads across the African continent, linking ports on the Atlantic Ocean with ports on the Indian Ocean. Atlantic, Pacific. tomato, tomato.

On June 19, the president promised to conserve 30 percent of US land and water before the year he wins the presidency?

“I have committed to: By 2020, we will have conserved 30 percent of all lands and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, while simultaneously reducing emissions to reduce climate impact.” he said.

After a June 16 talk at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, where Biden promoted gun control efforts, the president signed off by saying, “God save the queen, man.”

The press corps, which watched and reported on the president’s address in real time, was perplexed by his comments, especially since Queen Elizabeth II is still dead and her son remains king.

“Some of you have asked me why I might have said that,” Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News said in his pool report. “I have no idea. Other participants have no idea either.” The White House, meanwhile, claimed the president was only sharing a joke with a member of the audience, a detail that apparently went unnoticed by the entire White House press corps.

There’s also the fact that Biden she goes on to state that her late son, Beau, died in Iraq. Beau didn’t die in Iraq. Beau died in Bethesda, Maryland, six years after returning from a tour of duty in Iraq.

During his 2022 State of the Union Address [emphases added]declared Biden, “Putin can surround Kyiv with tanks, but will never win the hearts and souls of the Iranian people.”

In July of that same year, during his visit to Israel, the president said: “We must do every day, continue to bear witness, to keep the truth and honor of the Holocaust alive.” It was later corrected, replacing “honor” with “horror”.

Earlier, during an event near the White House, Biden asked about his whereabouts of the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), whose death the president himself had commemorated in a public statement just weeks earlier. The White House flag had even been flown at half-mast for two days after the congresswoman’s death.

Or how about when Biden regime change accidentally approved in Russia, when he said during a trip abroad to Poland: “For God’s sake, [Putin] he cannot remain in power”. This was a particular headache for Biden’s handlers.

One could go on, but you probably get the picture. The kindest thing you can say about this president is that he has lost his fastball.

It’s not just about whether Biden has what it takes to finish this term, let alone serve a second. It’s also about why we’re not having a more robust debate in the media about Biden’s mental acuity. The apparent lack of interest in the matter certainly seems like a change of pace for an industry that has historically not shied away from the issue.

During the Trump years, for example, there was no shortage of coverage and commentary questioning the president’s physical and mental fitness. In those years, there were three parts to every sentence published by the press: a noun, a verb, and “Is Donald Trump crazy?”

Psychiatrists converted famous cable news overnight simply because of his willingness to leverage his credentials against Trump. Before, when then-Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ran for president in 2008, a popular newsroom topic at the time was: “Is he too old?” Then there was former President George W. Bush, whose lifelong battle with the English language became a fodder for media speculation and late-night banter. Finally, of course, there is former President Reagan, whose administration was dogged by persistent questions from the press about whether his brain had he finally turned around a mashed potatoes.

Fast forward to 2023, and we see the current president confusing basic world events, praising rail projects that don’t exist, lamenting war casualties that aren’t real, wandering around stages and TV sets as if lost and struggle to make it through conversations without being nervous or exhausted. Yet despite the normal reflex of the press to question whether the president is living up to the demands of the office, the media has responded to Biden’s strange presidency with little more than a shrug. ‘shoulders dull.

The point here is not to highlight the treatment of the press to former presidents and presidential aspirants, to shout “hypocrisy!” Rather, it means that the public deserves to know whether Biden is capable of performing the minimum necessary for his position. If anything falls under the rubric of “public interest,” it’s surely this. And yet the wider press, the industry tasked with asking and exploring this question, has opted for a position of casual indifference.

But if ever there was a time to return to the spotlight, to engage in the issue of “presidential fitness,” this is it. There is a presidential election around the corner. The time to take “fitness” seriously, and to approach it fairly and seriously, is now. Not for the credibility of the media, but for the sake of the public, who have every right to know if the main candidates for the presidency are really capable of performing their duties.

Becket Adams is a Washington writer and program director for The National Center of Journalism.

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