Pelosi slams Wall Street Journal article on Biden’s mental acuity as ‘hit piece’

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday joined a chorus of Democrats rallying to President Biden’s defense after the Wall Street Journal published a report casting doubt on the president’s mental acuity and performance in private meetings.

Pelosi, in a statement on the social platform X, criticized the reporting for glossing over Democrats’ accounts of their interactions with the president and, instead, focusing on “attacks by Republicans.”

“Many of us spent time with @WSJ to share on the record our first-hand experiences with @POTUS, where we see his wisdom, experience, strength and strategic thinking,” Pelosi wrote. “Instead, the Journal ignored testimony by Democrats, focused on attacks by Republicans and printed a hit piece.”

The story, headlined, “Behind Closed Doors, Biden Shows Signs of Slipping,” is based on interviews with 45 people over several months, including Democrats and Republicans, according to the news outlet. The story includes examples of Biden reading from notes in meetings on Ukraine aid, sometimes deferring questions to aides and at times speaking too softly to be heard.

The Journal noted in the story that while most of Biden’s criticism came from Republicans, “some Democrats” said Biden “showed his age in several of the exchanges.”

Pelosi’s criticism echoed that of her fellow Democrats, who took particular issue with the fact that ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was the only lawmaker quoted on the record to strongly criticize the president.

But McCarthy — the White House pointed out — praised Biden’s conduct during their private meetings to hammer out a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

McCarthy told reporters publicly after those meetings Biden was “very professional, very smart. Very tough at the same time,” and he reportedly told colleagues in private that he found Biden to be mentally sharp.

McCarthy, in numerous television appearance since making those comments, has pivoted his focus to emphasizing Biden’s alleged reliance on notecards during the meetings.

In his comments to the Journal, McCarthy said, “I used to meet with him when he was vice president. I’d go to his house,” adding, “He’s not the same person.”

Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez brushed back the premise of the Journal story when asked about it on a call with reporters.

“As someone who has spent and continues to spend a lot of time with the president and continues to, I think ensure that I am living up to sort of his … strategic approach at every turn, I will say that he is, you know, just one of the strongest leaders that I’ve been able to engage and to be able to work with and to advise,” she said.

The Wall Street Journal told The Hill it stands by its reporting.

The Journal story is the latest piece to raise questions about Biden’s fitness for office as he seeks a second term. Biden is 81 and would be 86 at the end of a potential second term.

Republicans have for years tried to portray Biden as unfit for office and lacking the mental and physical fitness for the job. Former President Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for November, repeatedly attacks Biden as incompetent.

Democrats note Trump is 77 and has been prone to his own verbal stumbles when he is on the campaign trail. Trump also repeatedly closed his eyes for extended stretches during his recent criminal trial in New York.

Brett Samuels contributed.

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