Is Joe Biden OK? Health fears grow for 'confused' POTUS
There are growing concerns about the health of President Joe Biden, who celebrated his 79th birthday on Saturday, November 20. Some pollsters believe the steep decline in voter confidence in Biden's physical and mental fitness since he took office can have major political implications.
Increasingly looking weak, the Delaware Democrat has continued to make gaffes and exhibited moments of confusion. The White House PR team behind Biden has played down several mishaps, including catching a shuteye at the COP26 conference, where he is also said to have broken wind in front of the Duchess of Cornwall. Meanwhile, political debacles like the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan haven't done him any favors.
"It’s sad and a little frightening that the commander-in-chief, the guy in charge of nuclear weapons and who represents America, looks this confused, weak, feeble and uncertain," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently offered. Last week, a poll showed Biden's approval ratings had plummeted to 36 percent, his lowest ever, with 53 percent strongly believing he's not fit to carry out his duties as president. Bystanders at a recent event couldn't help but watch as he was introduced to colleagues of 10 or 20 years standing without seeming to know their respective identities.
According to the Daily Mail, Biden's critics, who once whispered about his mental decline, are now openly suggesting he has dementia, possibly Alzheimer's, citing instances when he needed ‘cue cards’ to prompt him when rubbing shoulders with world leaders or facing the press. In September, Biden raised eyebrows when he forgot the name of the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, calling him "that fellow Down Under" instead. He has previously appeared to struggle to remember his Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin’s name, referring to him as "the guy who runs that outfit over there."
US President Joe Biden appeared to forget the Australian prime minister's name during a virtual meeting— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 16, 2021
Instead he referred to Scott Morrison as "'that fellow down under"https://t.co/g6VDtyW4Bz pic.twitter.com/if8qlNSqkt
"Everyone knew President Reagan was losing it by the time he came to the end of his term," one source who previously worked in the White House told the Daily Mail. "Reagan left office when he was 77. Biden is 79 and only in the first year." Meanwhile, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll showed how voters had increasing doubts over the mental and physical fitness of Biden, who became the oldest man to ever be sworn into the White House earlier this year.
According to the poll, only 40 percent of voters surveyed agreed with the statement that Biden “is in good health,” while 50 percent disagreed. The 10 percent gap represents a massive 29-point shift since October 2020, when Morning Consult found voters believed Biden was in good health by a 19-point margin. “When you watch Biden, you get a sense that he’s just missing a beat, that he’s not what he once was,” GOP pollster Neil Newhouse told Politico. “Voters are picking up on it.”
Biden was two months past 78 when he took the oath of office in January, breaking the record previously held by Ronald Reagan, who was 77 years and 349 days old when George HW Bush succeeded him in 1989. Meanwhile, Donald Trump was 74 when he left office, Dwight D Eisenhower, 70, and Andrew Jackson, 69 when he departed the White House in 1837, per History.com.
Biden's physician attested in a six-page report that the president was "fit to successfully execute the duties” of his job, despite a stiffening gait caused by spinal arthritis and a nagging cough. Nonetheless, voter sentiment about his health could become a major problem for the Democratic Party's chances in future elections. “We may see a large field of competitors for the nomination” if Biden’s "senior moments" become "noticeably more frequent or more alarming over the next two years," political scientist Paul Quirk told Newsweek.