White House on Biden Mental Acuity After Debate Flop: ‘He’s as Sharp as Ever’

Standing before a room full of reporters eagerly waiting for an update on President Joe Biden following his debate debacle, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assured the American public that he’s “as sharp as ever.”

When asked on Wednesday during a press briefing if she had seen any “slowdowns,” Jean-Pierre replied, “What I can say is this is a president who is strong and resolute in delivering for the American people.” The press secretary proceeded to run down the bare minimum required of the country’s leader, adding, “I see a president when I’m sitting in front of him, going through the day or talking about what he’s doing next. He is someone that engages with us. He wants wants to know, he pushes us, he prods us — wanting to figure out like the bigger picture of whatever we’re trying to explain to him, or even granule details.”

As a follow-up question, Jean-Pierre was asked if he was indeed, as sharp as ever. The press secretary maintained, “He is as sharp as ever, as I have known him to be in my engagement, in my experience with him. And I know when I walk into the Oval Office or or see him on Air Force One, I have to be on top of my game.”

Since the first 2024 debate last week, during which the president looked fatigued and failed to follow through on several thoughts when up against Donald Trump, the Biden team has offered a litany of excuses. From “President Biden has a cold” to claims of a severe case of jet lag, the president’s allies have scrambled to explain his poor performance on stage.

On Tuesday, during an interview on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it was “legitimate” to ask if Biden’ performance was just an “episode” or a “condition,” adding: “Both candidates owe whatever test you want to put them to, in terms of their mental acuity and their health.”

In response to Pelosi’s statements, Jean-Pierre insisted that Biden’s administration has been transparent about his health. “We have released thorough reports from his medical team every year since he’s been in office. That is something that we have been pretty consistent about,” she said. “As it relates to, you know, something like a cognitive test, to the question that you’re asking me about what the speaker — former speaker said — obviously, she can speak for herself. His team, who has said — the medical team said it is not warranted in this case. We have put forward a thorough, transparent annual report on his health. So, they have said that is not warranted.”

Several former Democratic leaders have called on Biden to exit the presidential race. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) was the first current Democratic lawmaker to call on the president to bow out, issuing a statement on Tuesday for him to “make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw.”

“Having devoted his life to public service, President Biden has achieved much for our country at home and abroad,” Doggett wrote. “I had hoped that the debate would provide some momentum to change that. It did not. Instead of reassuring voters, the president failed to effectively defend his many accomplishments and expose Trump’s many lies.”

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