White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday pushed back aggressively when asked whether President Joe Biden’s age was causing the White House to delay the start of his daily schedule until closer to noon each day.
Ms Jean-Pierre was asked about claims made in a forthcoming book by journalist Franklin Foer, The Last Politician, about Mr Biden’s age impacting his ability to carry out the public-facing roles of the presidency.
In an excerpt from the book published by The Guardian, Foer writes that Mr Biden’s “advanced years were a hindrance, depriving him of the energy to cast a robust public presence or the ability to easily conjure a name”.
“It was striking that he took so few morning meetings or presided over so few public events before 10am. His public persona reflected physical decline and time’s dulling of mental faculties that no pill or exercise regime can resist ... in private, he would occasionally admit that he felt tired,” Foer adds, though he cites no source for Mr Biden’s alleged statement.
Pressed on whether the claims in Foer’s text are the reason that the White House has been telling the press to expect no news before certain hours of the morning and asked directly whether Mr Biden has admitted to being “tired” to her, Ms Jean-Pierre quickly replied: “That’s a ridiculous assumption to make” and moved on to a question from a different reporter.
Mr Biden, who is 80 years of age, is the oldest person to ever serve as US president. If re-elected next year, he would remain the oldest-ever American chief executive.
His Republican opponents, including former president Donald Trump, have often claimed — without evidence — that Mr Biden is senile or suffering from age-related maladies that make him incapable of serving as president.
Mr Trump, who was listed at a weight making him clinically obese in his last official White House physical, is only three years younger than Mr Biden and has had multiple relatives who have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.