A panelist on CNN said Thursday that the White House faced a “five-alarm fire” after President Joe Biden gave a combative press conference taking issue with a report by special counsel Robert Hur.
Biden lashed out during the press conference about coverage of special counsel Hur’s report, which found Biden deliberately kept classified documents but declined to charge him. In the report, Hur noted Biden reportedly had forgottenthe death of his son, Beau Biden, as well as when he served as vice president, describing the president as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
“I don’t think he did himself any favors in that speech,” Alyssa Farah Griffin told CNN host Anderson Cooper. “He undercut two of his biggest messages: The adults are back in charge, by sort of being dismissive. Yes, he was exonerated. He won’t be convicted or tried for this. But there were some really damning things. He had deliberation of Afghan war plans with him, he spoke to a biographer about classified documents who didn’t have clearance. This showed a decent level of recklessness of handling classified information.”
Griffin also said that one of the talking points Biden used also undercut his message.
“They were using this bizarre line to say he stepped away from an international crisis, the biggest attack on our ally Israel since the Holocaust, to go deal with a self-inflicted investigation by the Department of Justice,” Griffin said. “How is that supposed to inspire confidence? I don’t know why he went back out. He already said most of this in Virginia. This is becoming a five-alarm fire for the White House.”
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted that a verbal gaffe by Biden might be a major takeaway from the press conference.
“Mexico? Where did that come from?” Toobin asked. “I mean, that’s the only thing anyone will remember from this.”
Biden’s age and mental fitness have become issues following a number of verbal gaffes. Biden claimed Wednesday to have spoken with former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl about the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol, even though Kohl died in 2017, three days after he claimed Sunday he spoke with former French President Francois Mitterrand, who passed away in 1996.
During the speech, Biden forgot the parish where an annual memorial service for Beau Biden is held and mixed up the presidents of Egypt and Mexico.
In September 2022, Biden asked for Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana, who was killed along with two staffers in an August 2022 motor vehicle accident, during a conference on hunger. Biden has suffered multiple falls during his term in office, including one at the Air Force Academy June 1, falling down while on his bike in June 2022 and stumblingon the steps of Air Force One on two occasions.
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