President Joe Biden has always been somewhat gaffe-prone throughout his decades-long political career, but the frequency of his misstatements has markedly increased over the past couple of years while the decline in his physical and mental health has become even more apparent as his age has advanced.
The latest example of Biden's tendency to utter gaffes came on Thursday when he mistakenly praised the "Congressional Black Caucus" while delivering a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, according to The National Desk.
A video clip of the moment went viral on social media and predictably resulted in plenty of mockery over the unforced error mixed with some genuine concern for increasingly frail-appearing and not altogether mentally "there" 80-year-old president who is seeking another four years in office as the president.
President Biden delivered remarks Thursday evening at the 46th Annual Gala for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington D.C., and uttered the gaffe after highlighting the work of award recipient Sister Norma Pimental, the executive director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, an organization in Texas that provides assistance to newly arrived migrants to the U.S.
"Congratulations to tonight’s awardees, includes Sister Norma. Sister, I don’t know where you are, but bless me, Father, but I have not sinned so far tonight," Biden said to laughter from the audience. "I want you to know. Look, you’re known as the 'Mother Teresa of Texas.'"
"And, Sister -- I know Sister Norma lives the lessons she -- the nuns taught me growing up -- lessons based on the Gospel of Matthew: to feed the hungry, care for the sick, to welcome strangers," he continued.
"They echo what my dad taught me -- and I mean this sincerely. My dad used to say 'Everyone -- everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.' The Congressional Black Caucus embodies those values," Biden mistakenly added. "Just think of the work we’ve done together on civil rights, labor rights, healthcare, education, and, folks, to fundamentally change the direction of our economy -- to grow it from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down."
Joe Biden says "the Congressional Black Caucus embodies all those values" while speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus gala pic.twitter.com/WM7IP8rKBi
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 22, 2023
The National Desk noted that the erroneous praise for the Congressional Black Caucus while addressing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus came just one day after President Biden had made another rather noticeable mental mistake in telling the same oft-repeated story twice in close proximity during a Wednesday night speech at a fundraiser event.
"After briefly touting his economic record, POTUS reflected on his decision to seek the presidency," a Politico reporter shared in the press pool report, according to Fox News. "He told the story about the events of Charlottesville in 2017 as the reason for his campaign. A few minutes later, he told the story again, nearly word for word."
That incident, like the one that followed one day later, sparked a similar reaction on social media of mockery over his increasingly frequent mistakes and legitimate concern over the apparent "elder abuse" he was enduring at the hands of those pushing him to do public speaking events, much less run for another four-year term in office.
President Biden's advanced age and declining mental faculties, as evidenced in part by the increasing frequency of his gaffes and misstatements are a top concern for a substantial majority of voters in the run-up to the 2024 election, per Fox News.
Just last month, an AP-NORC poll found that 77% of Americans, including 69% of Democrats, believe that Biden is "too old" to effectively serve another four-year term as president.
But arguably even more concerning than his age is his mental decline, as an NBC News poll in June found that 68% of Americans said Biden lacks the "necessary mental and physical health to be president," a number that includes 55% who have "major" concerns in that regard, a figure that has risen sharply since the 2020 election as Biden's deterioration has been more and more obvious.