- Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Let’s get real, people, as President Biden likes to say. 

Do you want real? We’ve got real. Here’s real: Having Mr. Biden run for president in 2024 is just plain elder abuse.

Who needs proof anymore? Mr. Biden is pretty far gone. But hang on. We’re all going there. We all get old. And getting old is weird. One man is just fine at 97; another is losing it at 74. 

Mr. Biden is 81. Sad to say, he’s losing it. I saw this whole descent with my father: fine at 79, failing at 84, lost at 87. At 79, my dad was …. my dad, vivacious, loquacious, full of life. At 84, he slowed way down and wasn’t himself. At 87, his gait was strained, he didn’t speak much, he was all but gone. 

Mr. Biden seems nearly there, sadly. He really does. It’s sad that he’s running for president, but it’s far more sad that the people around him aren’t stopping him from doing so.

Take what happened on Monday. Mr. Biden held a White House event to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. 

“The 81-year-old president’s gaze was fixed on the stage as gospel singer Kirk Franklin performed his song ’Love Theory’ in front of the commander in chief, Vice President Kamala Harris, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and other dignitaries on the South Lawn — all of whom danced along as Biden stood still,” the New York Post reported.

But not the president. He stood completely still for nearly a minute. He barely looked around, just stared straight ahead, a dim smile on his face. He didn’t appear to know exactly what was going on.

And again, that’s not that unusual. We’ll all go at different paces, some fast, some slow, some just as Mr. Biden is going. He’s lived a long life. He’s been in public service since 1973 — 51 years! He took a seat in the Senate at just 30 years old. 

But Mr. Biden is going, and when it starts, it often goes fast. Monday’s event was just the latest example of how the president is fading mentally. 

The Wall Street Journal last week published a piece full of anecdotes from those who know Mr. Biden well. In one passage, the paper said that in a meeting with congressional leaders over a Ukraine funding deal, the president spoke very softly, referred repeatedly to notes and “sometimes closed his eyes for so long that some in the room wondered whether he had tuned out.”

The reports have been coming for years. In his report on Mr. Biden holding classified documents, special counsel Robert Hur was almost sad when he wrote that the president is simply an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

But Election Day is less than five months away. And this 81-year-old man is running for reelection (don’t get me wrong — his opponent, who will be 78 on June 14, isn’t much better). 

Leave it to Joe Rogan to lay out the situation in plain language.

“There’s nothing there,” Mr. Rogan said of Mr. Biden in a recent podcast. “I don’t think there’s a question about this.”

“I think it’s elder abuse. I really do,” Mr. Rogan said. “If it was any other job, it would be elder abuse. If there was a guy running the corner grocery store and his family was making him run it, and he was that old and they had money, you’d be like, ‘Why are you making your dad work? Your dad’s out of it.’”

And there you have it. Being president is NOT like running the corner grocery store, but here we are.

Like my father, Mr. Biden has flashes of lucidity. Sometimes, he appears just fine. But other times, he seems lost, like when he moved to sit down at a D-Day ceremony last week in France only to have his wife stop him — leaving him mid-squat, hovering over his chair for several seconds.

It’s not lost on the American people. Recent polls show just 4 in 10 are confident that Mr. Biden is mentally competent to be reelected, with only 1 in 3 believing he can fully comprehend national security briefings.

Still, there might be another tactic afoot. Maybe in August, when the Democratic National Committee holds its nominating convention, the party will shock the world and pick someone else, with Mr. Biden’s blessing, of course.

But that’s not likely, as first lady Jill Biden seems to be calling the shots. 

And that’s why, at this point, it all seems like elder abuse. 

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on X @josephcurl.

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