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Report: Biden Showing Signs of Decline in Private Meetings with Congressional Leaders

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President Biden, at 81 years old, is the oldest U.S. President and has faced skepticism about his mental acuity from voters and lawmakers. The Wall Street Journal interviewed 45 lawmakers and administration officials who were critical of Biden’s performance, with some Republicans and Democrats expressing concerns about his age in private meetings. Some people struggled to hear Biden when he spoke softly, read from notes, paused for extended periods, and even closed his eyes for an extended time during negotiations on various issues.

In one-on-one meetings, Biden has shown signs of forgetfulness, with House Speaker Mike Johnson recalling that the president said a recent policy change was just a study, casting doubt on his grasp of essential details. During negotiations with House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, Biden’s demeanor seemed to fluctuate from sharp and engaging one day to mumbling and relying on notes the next, leading to skepticism about his cognitive abilities among some.

Despite criticisms, White House officials have dismissed concerns about Biden’s cognitive ability, attributing them to partisan politics. The Biden administration has emphasized the president’s effectiveness in negotiating important issues, such as funding for Ukraine and raising the debt ceiling, as evidence of his success. However, former President Trump, Biden’s electoral opponent, has also faced criticism over his mental acuity, with instances of memory lapses and inaccurate remarks in public appearances.

Concerns about Biden’s mental acuity have been raised by various incidents, including mixing up cabinet secretaries, recalling conversations with deceased world leaders, and appearing confused in public remarks. Similar concerns have also been raised about Trump, who has made his fair share of memory lapses and missteps in public speeches. The public perception of the mental states of both candidates has been shaped by their speeches and public appearances, fueling debates about their fitness for office.

Despite these concerns, administration officials have cited instances where Biden demonstrated sharpness and engagement, particularly during critical events such as Iran’s missile attack on Israel and late-night discussions with lawmakers. The White House has maintained that Biden’s doctors have found him fit to serve, and he has shown no need for a cognitive test according to his recent annual physical. However, limited opportunities to observe Biden in unscripted moments have led to questions about his cognitive state.

In conclusion, the debate over President Biden’s mental acuity reflects broader concerns about the fitness of senior political figures to serve, with criticisms and doubts raised by both supporters and opponents. While some point to instances of forgetfulness and confusion as signs of decline, others highlight Biden’s successes in negotiating key issues as evidence of his effectiveness. As the 2024 presidential election approaches, questions about the mental acuity of both Biden and Trump are likely to remain central to the political discourse.

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