President Joe Biden, speaking before a contingent of American forces in Japan, appeared to forget the circumstances of the death of his eldest son Beau, saying the former military man died in Iraq.
“My son was a major in the US Army. We lost him in Iraq,” the president said in a video obtained by the New York Post. Beau Biden actually died from brain cancer in 2015 at the Walter Reed Memorial Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. The White House did not release a transcript of President Biden’s remarks following the event where the traveling press corps was kept out of earshot from the stage.
The latest incident was not the first time President Biden has publicly forgotten the details of Beau’s death: the president twice last fall made similar claims, mental stumbles which call into question Biden’s age and acumen at a critical time for his reelection campaign. Efforts by Biden’s staff to keep traveling reporters at a distance suggest the White House communications team is bracing for similar incidents to continue into 2024.
On several occasions, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has sparred with reporters during her briefings, falsely claiming that President Biden has taken more “shouted” questions than any previous president while dispelling the notion that her staff is insulating the president from scrutiny. Biden in recent months has snapped at or outright ignored reporters for attempting to ask legitimate questions about administration policies on issues such as the debt ceiling and ties with China.
Forgetfulness by the president only fuels concerns that he is too old for the world’s most demanding job. Sixty-eight percent of voters believe Biden is too old to serve a second term, and top Democrats are starting to publicly acknowledge the problem as well. After Biden nearly face-planted at the G7 summit, Hillary Clinton admitted that the president’s age will be a serious issue in next year’s election.