Press: In keeping score of mental gaffes, Donald Trump is ahead

Everything the White House says about special counsel Robert Hur’s report is true. First, Hur did exonerate President Biden from any criminal acts related to classified documents found in his possession. Sloppy, yes; but criminal, no. “No criminal charges are warranted in this matter,” Hur concluded. Good for Biden. 

Second, Hur did point out that Biden cooperated with the Justice Department, unlike Donald Trump, who undermined the government’s investigation into presidential documents hustled off to Mar-a-Lago. Good for Biden. 

Third. Robert Hur — like James Comey before him — did go over the line. Unable to find any reason to charge Biden with a crime, he took off his special prosecutor hat and put on his MAGA hat, painting Biden as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” The White House is right.

Those comments had nothing to do with the facts of the case. They amounted to little more than a political hit job. Bad for Biden. 

Again, everything the White House says about the Hur report is true. Unfortunately for Biden, however, the good stuff about Biden will soon be forgotten. All the media’s talking about and will continue to talk about is the bad stuff: questions about Biden’s mental acuity. These concerns have already been raised before, but they now have added significance due to the special counsel’s report. And they are concerns which the White House can no longer ignore. 

As unfair as it may be, polls show that voters are not focused on Biden’s legislative record, the strength of the economy or his leadership on the world stage. They’re worried about only one thing: Is Biden starting to lose it? Or is he already too old for the job?

These are fair questions. For Joe Biden, who is 81. But also for Donald Trump, who is 77 — and seems to be showing signs of his own diminished mental capacity.

More often, in fact, than Biden. Surprised? Let’s check the record. 

As widely reported, Biden’s made several gaffes in the last couple of weeks. He confused the late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, confused the late French President Francois Mitterrand with current French President Emmanuel Macron and misidentified Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as the president of Mexico, not Egypt. 

These, while worrisome, are dwarfed by Trump’s recent gaffes. I’m not talking about the big lies he often makes: that he actually won the 2020 election; that he presided over the strongest economy in history; that he was once named Michigan Man of the Year; that windmills cause cancer, and so many more. Nor the dangerous policy pronouncements he’s made, like encouraging Russia to invade any country that doesn’t pay its full share of NATO dues. 

No, we’re talking about gaffes, the same kind of mental hiccups Joe Biden’s under fire for. Multiple times, in a January rant, Trump confused Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi. He praised Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban as “the leader of Turkey.” He bragged about beating Barack Obama in 2016 in “an election that everyone said couldn’t be won” and bragged about leading Obama “by a lot” in 2024. He claimed that Joe Biden would get us “into World War II.” And he blamed Jeb Bush, not his brother George W., for starting the War in Iraq. 

This election should be about important policy differences and the future of democracy. But if it’s really going to be decided, instead, by gaffes — and which candidate makes fewer of them — Joe Biden will win in a landslide.   

Press hosts “The Bill Press Pod.” He is the author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.” 

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