In a virtual interview with the National Association of Black Journalists, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tried to address concerns about his cognitive state, but stumbled to pronounce the words “mental fitness” and asked his Black interviewer if he was a “junkie,” as Breitbart reported.
Biden became combative with CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett when he was asked whether he had taken a cognitive test to prove that he isn’t experiencing decline.
“No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?” Biden asked interviewer Errol Barnett. “C’mon man. That’s like saying you, before you got in this program, if you take a test where you’re taking cocaine or not, what do you think huh? Are you a junkie?”
Digging a deeper hole
“I am very willing to let the American people judge my physical, mental fil–my physical as well as my mental fil–fitness,” Biden told Barnett.
The problem for Biden is that given the voluminous examples of mental miscues and gaffes, they are indeed rendering such a judgment.
A Zogby Analytics poll taken in mid-June showed that 55% of likely voters believed Biden was in the early stages of dementia, and the few interviews he has granted since then have not helped him make the case that he is on top of his mental game.
Calling him out
Biden has mostly been hiding away in his Delaware basement, and he has steered clear of interviews with journalists likely to ask hard-hitting questions of any kind, including Chris Wallace of Fox News, who has made repeated requests to sit down with the former vice president.
Wallace called Biden out after Trump sat for a one-hour exclusive interview last month, making it clear that Biden was asked to submit to the same kind of interview and declined.
Given Biden’s tendency to become combative even with friendly interviewers, one wonders what might happen if he were to be questioned by someone who is ready and willing to challenge the candidate.
This reluctance to appear under less-than-controlled circumstances has led some observers to predict that the Biden campaign will attempt to avoid participating in debates against President Donald Trump this fall.
Indeed, prominent voices on the left such as former Bill Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman have publicly urged Biden not to take the debate stage with Trump.
It is apparent to just about everyone that Biden has little chance of holding his own in a head-to-head debate with the president, but a refusal to even try could truly seal his fate, laying bare the fact that he simply isn’t equipped to serve as the nation’s commander in chief.