Senate Democrats are disregarding the recent report from special counsel Robert Hur, which concluded that President Joe Biden did not violate any laws regarding the mishandling of classified documents during his tenure as vice president. However, the report did characterize Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory” and suggested that his cognitive faculties may be diminished due to his advancing age.
In alignment with the White House’s stance, Democratic senators are interpreting Hur’s assessment as a politically motivated attack orchestrated by a former U.S. attorney appointed by the Trump administration. Despite this, it’s noted that Hur was selected by Attorney General Merrick Garland, who serves under the current administration.
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii downplayed the significance of the report’s findings, stating that criticisms of Biden’s age from Republicans are not surprising. When questioned about Biden’s memory lapses outlined in the report, Schatz responded by questioning the unusual nature of a special counsel offering editorial opinions.
Democratic senators attempted to shift the focus away from the report by drawing comparisons between Biden and former President Donald Trump, emphasizing Trump’s legal issues and verbal missteps. Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania dismissed the report as “cheap trash,” asserting that it would not alter the choice between Biden and Trump in the upcoming election.
Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington offered a more guarded response, expressing her belief in Biden’s effectiveness on various complex issues but refraining from delving into the specifics of the report.
While the report highlighted instances where Biden retained and disclosed classified information, it did not recommend charges against him due in part to the perception that he would be seen sympathetically by a jury, given his age and memory issues.
Republicans, such as Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, criticized what they perceived as a double standard in the treatment of Biden compared to Trump. They highlighted the report’s portrayal of Biden’s age-related frailties as concerning.
Some Democrats, including Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, criticized Hur’s commentary on Biden’s age and memory, viewing it as inappropriate for a special counsel report.
During a press conference, Biden responded defiantly to questions about his memory, asserting his competence and experience as president. However, the report noted instances where Biden struggled to recall significant events, such as the death of his son Beau and details of the Afghanistan debate.
The aftermath of the report’s release has renewed discussions within the Democratic Party about addressing concerns regarding Biden’s age and fitness for office. Some Democrats have urged the White House to increase Biden’s public appearances to alleviate these concerns, particularly as the election approaches.
Additionally, there are reports of private concerns among House Democrats regarding Biden’s physical state, prompting discussions about his ability to fulfill his duties until Election Day.
Despite efforts to downplay concerns about Biden’s age, some Democrats, including strategist David Axelrod, argue that acknowledging these concerns openly is necessary to address voters’ apprehensions effectively.
In light of the report’s findings, the White House may face increasing pressure to confront these issues more directly.