‘Tripping, Freezing, Forgetting’: Foreign Media Says ‘Distracted’ Biden Is Getting Worse Ahead Of 2024 Election

Vice President of the United States Joe Biden adresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland...U.S. Embassy Bern/ Eric Bridiers

Several foreign media outlets have published stories in recent months raising concern about President Joe Biden’s health ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

Biden and his administration maintain that his health is in stable condition and that he is capable of defeating former President Donald Trump in November. But Biden’s recent performance, remarks during press briefings and on-camera appearances have been called into question by a number of major international media outlets, who point to the increasing concern among U.S. voters about his age and mental status.

“Biden isn’t the man he used to be,” a June editorial story from The Independent, a U.K. newspaper, reads. “A failure to take the mounting evidence seriously risks not only a collapse of trust in the White House that will affect future presidents but the specter of real crises during a second Biden term.”

“[Biden has an] inability to function well,” a news story published on Monday by the Hindustan Times, an Indian outlet, reads. “He has come under the spotlight several times for his gaffes, mixing up names of people, and struggling to recall simple words,” reads a separate piece from March.

Biden and his campaign team have downplayed age and health concerns, sometimes leaning into his age as a positive given his decades of political experience. Regardless, Biden’s fitness has remained an issue among swaths of voters; a New York Times/Siena poll conducted in March found that over 70% of voters believed that Biden’s age makes him “ineffective” or incapable of handling the duties of the Oval Office.

“Biden’s main opposition has come from anxiety over his age and health,” a news story in the Chinese-state media outlet Global Times from March reads.

International media outlets especially covered concerns surrounding Biden after Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Hur released a report in February regarding Biden’s possible mishandling of classified documents. The report recommended not pursuing charges against Biden because he presented himself as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” and a jury would likely find him not guilty.

Biden held a press conference the same day the report was released and criticized Hur’s report, but made a series of slip-ups during remarks and shouted at reporters, which some media outlets claimed highlighted Hur’s findings.

“The events underscore the unenviable challenge facing Biden’s aides, who know every verbal slip can exacerbate the biggest liability the president faces — voters worrying he’s not up to the task,” a editorial story from The Japan Times in February reads, claiming that the Biden campaign is “attempting to make it to November free of major gaffes.”

“The numerous references in the report to Joe Biden’s failing memory… give unprecedented force to questions about his physical and mental capacity to stand again,” a news story from French outlet Le Monde wrote about the Hur report. “The worrying episodes are increasing.”

Biden’s behavior was called into question by a number of foreign media outlets at the Group of Seven G7 summit on Friday, in which he stood alongside the leaders of the other G7 nations for a photograph before appearing to wander off and be brought back to the group by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

“Joe Biden’s ‘unusual behavior’ at the G7 leaves leaders ‘alarmed’ and ‘bemused,’” a Monday news headline from Sky News Australia reads.

“The video was widely circulated on social media and sparked debate, with some questioning Biden’s ability to serve another term,” a news story from India Today on Friday reads, claiming that Biden has appeared “dazed” in recent public appearances.

A Pew Global Research survey published on June 11 found that international confidence in Biden’s ability to conduct foreign policy is falling; adults surveyed in 14 nations including Israel, Japan, the U.K. and Australia said their confidence in Biden had “dropped significantly” since 2023. Less than half of respondents in dozens of countries surveyed said that Biden is properly handling the global conflicts of the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars.

The large survey was conducted with thousands of respondents across dozens of countries. The typical margin of error for each country’s survey was between 0% and 5%.

Biden’s mental and physical fitness has been the subject of constant attacks by Trump and his campaign team ahead of the elections in November. The two are expected to face off on the debate stage in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 27.

“Amid the urgent issues for discussion in the first debate between the candidates in the forthcoming US presidential election, age is being weaponized by both contenders,” a Telegraph editorial story on Sunday reads. “But Biden, perhaps distracted by Presidential duties… is late to the party when it comes to throwing shade on a person for being old. His apparent lapses – tripping, freezing, forgetting people’s names, and aimless wandering – most recently at last week’s G7 meeting in Italy – have been gleefully exploited by his opponents.”

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