The New York Times launches a frontal attack on Biden on the matter of his age
A few days ago, the New York Times carried a piece by Peter Baker that made the case that Biden, at 79 years of age, is "testing the boundaries of age and the presidency."
Baker swiftly gets to the point, referring to Biden's upcoming trip to the Middle East that was initially supposed to be combined with his recent trip to Europe. But Biden's aides deemed the schedule possibly "unnecessarily taxing for a 79-year-old," hence it was broken in two.
Baker reminds his readers that just a year and a half into his first term, Biden will be more than a year older than Ronald Reagan was at the end of two terms. Also, Biden would be 86 at the end of his second term, "testing the outer boundaries of age and the presidency."
Baker cites Biden aides who acknowledge that Biden looks older than just a few years ago and that this has become "a political liability that cannot be solved by traditional White House stratagems like staff shake-ups or new communications plans."
Baker states that Biden's "age has increasingly become an uncomfortable issue for aides and Democrat strategists who do not think Biden should run again."
Baker points out that Biden often "shuffles when he walks, and aides worry he will trip on a wire," and Biden's speeches are "flat and listless." There is mention of frequently losing his train of thought and even struggling to summon names of this colleagues.
Baker cites examples of Biden referring to his vice president, Kamala Harris, as "President Harris" and stumbling over words such as "kleptocracy." Baker refers to Biden confusing Ukraine with Iran and mistaking Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, with the late Republican senator John Warner, also from Virginia.
Baker refers to the White House having to walk back Biden's ad-libbed comments, vowing a military response if China attacks Taiwan and proclaiming that Putin "cannot remain in power" in Russia. Both were the equivalent of declaring war against a powerful foreign adversary.
The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that Biden's aides often hold their breath during live events to see if he makes it to the end without a gaffe.
Baker claims that the White House seems "determined to guard Biden against unscripted interactions with the news media," resulting in taking part in fewer press interactions compared to his predecessors. Biden has given just 38 interviews so far, far fewer than his predecessors Trump (116), Obama (198), George W. Bush (71), Clinton (75), and George Bush (86).
Baker also points out that during his European trip, foreign leaders "protectively treated him like an elderly relative."
While posing for photos, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany gently pointed Biden in the direction of the cameras. Also, prior to a meeting, when a reporter twice shouted a question about getting grain out of Ukraine, and Biden couldn't hear the question, British prime minister Boris Johnson came to the rescue, responding that "we're working on it."
Baker reveals that Biden's working day ended by 3:30 P.M. both during the meeting with the Group of Seven leaders and at the NATO summit.
Baker refers to Biden keeping away from public view at night when in the White House and Biden's aides guarding Biden's weekends in Delaware. Biden's fall from his bicycle last month also gets a mention.
Baker states in bullet points that Biden has become a liability because of his struggle to inspire during times of political tumult and economic distress. Baker also cites Biden's failure to lead allies internationally, especially in building a coalition of Western powers against adversaries such as Russia and China.
The piece quotes David Gergen, a former adviser to four presidents, who feels "it's inappropriate to seek that office after you're 80 or in your 80s" because "you're not quite as sharp as you once were."
Baker cites a June survey by Harvard University, which found that 64 percent of voters believe that Biden is too old to be president.
The piece incongruously pivots to President Trump supposedly making unfounded claims about his cognitive abilities.
Baker also mentions Reagan's final years, where aides secretly assessed removing him from office using the 25th Amendment's disability clause but ultimately concluded he was still fit. Baker also mentions that Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years after leaving the White House, implying that he was impaired much before.
This is Baker's attempt to paint false equivalence.
Beyond Biden's cognitive decline, Baker refers to Biden's overall health, owing to his advanced age. Baker reveals that aides are cautious about exposing him to the coronavirus; they are tested once a week, and if they plan to meet with Biden, they are tested that morning and are compelled to wear N95 masks.
Baker seems skeptical about claims from Biden aides that Biden is "intellectually engaged, asks smart questions at meetings, grills aides on points of dispute," and stays up working late when required.
Baker seems skeptical about claims from Biden's adviser for 40 years Mike Donilon, and deputy White House chief of staff Jennifer O'Malley Dillon that Biden is outpacing his younger staff and driving his schedule.
So what do we make of this piece?
The New York Times is the mouthpiece for the Washington Democrat establishment. Hence, this piece must be read as an official declaration of war on Joe Biden, with an aim to prevent him from running in 2024.
The Democrats, through the New York Times, are distancing themselves from Biden as they campaign for the midterms, urging voters not to punish Democrat lawmakers for Biden's numerous catastrophes.
Last month, the Times interviewed 50 Democrat officials regarding their frustrations with Biden.
This piece is a message for Biden that these attacks will be harder-hitting in the coming months, and the only way Biden can turn these brickbats into bouquets is to announce he is not seeking re-election in 2024.
If Biden makes that announcement, the Times and others will laud and applaud Biden as a great statesman who made the supreme self-sacrifice for the betterment of the nation.
Give us a break.