President Biden showed his age at a campaign reception in Manhattan Wednesday — repeating statements about the 2017 Charlottesville riot and his decision to run for president in 2020 minutes apart and nearly word-for-word.
During remarks at the gathering hosted by billionaire real estate heiress Amy Goldman Fowler, the 80-year-old president recounted how he was enjoying retirement after two terms as Barack Obama’s vice president when “along came, in August of 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia.
“You remember those folks walking out of the fields literally carrying torches, with Nazi swastikas, holding them forward, singing the same vicious, anti-Semitic bile — the same exact bile — bile that was sung in — in Germany in the early ‘30s. And a young woman was killed. A young woman was killed.”
Biden went on to say, according to an official White House transcript, that “the former guy [then-President Donald Trump] was asked, ‘What do you think would happen?’ He was the sitting president. And he said, ‘I thought there were some very fine people on both sides.’ And I mean this sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, that’s when I decided I — I was going to run again.”
After the president recounted how his extended family urged him to challenge Trump, he then began to tell the story all over again.
“You know, you may remember that, you know, those folks from Charlottesville, as they came out of the fields and carrying those swastikas, and remember the ones with the torches and the Ku — accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan. And in addition to that, they had — there were white supremacists. Anyway, they were making the big case about how terrible this was. And a young woman was killed in the process.
“And my predecessor, as I said, was asked what he thought. He said, ‘There are some very fine people on both sides.’ Well, that kept ringing in my head.
“And so, I couldn’t, quite frankly, remain silent any longer,” Biden concluded. “So, I decided I would run. And it became — I ran because I thought everything this country stood for was up for grabs for the first time in my career.”
According to medical experts, repeating sentences, phrases and even entire stories — while common in the elderly — may be an early sign of dementia or even an early-warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Biden has routinely stumbled while making public statements, with his allies chalking those incidents up to a chronic stutter.
However, other occasions have led to charges that the commander-in-chief is not cognitively fit to serve a second four-year term.
In July, for example, Biden stared at notecards on his lap while welcoming Israeli President Isaac Herzog to the Oval Office rather than look the head of state in the face.
In September of last year, Biden asked Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) to stand and be recognized during an event, apparently forgetting that Walorski had died in a car crash the previous month — and that he had issued a statement marking her passing.
In a recently published book about Biden’s White House, author Franklin Foer revealed that the president has difficulty quickly recalling people’s names and will privately admit to feeling tired.
A whopping 77% of Americans feel that Biden is too old to effectively govern if he wins a second term in office, according to an Associated Press-NORC poll released in late August.
However, the president has given no outward indication that he plans on calling off his 2024 run.