Reporter’s question to Biden about his mental fitness demands an answer

Special to

By Bill Juneau

At President Biden’s recent news conference marking his first full year as the nation’s head man, reporter James Rosen asked Biden for his reaction to a poll finding that millions of Americans, Democrats as well as Republicans, do not believe that he is “mentally fit” for the job.

With possibly millions glued to their TV sets to see and hear the president sans teleprompter, Rosen, chief White House correspondent for Newsmax, let go with that haymaker and it must have taken some courage to do so.

Biden’s perceived senility and forgetfulness has been a topic for comments and discussions over the past two years, but until now, the 79-year-old, horse-whispering Biden had skated free from being confronted publicly with that hot button issue.

Very likely, the inquiry from the aggressive Rosen who until recently had been a reporter for Fox News, certainly brought gasps of incredulity and “how dare yous ” from Biden fans. It also produced huge applause from his detractors who have long been itching for the Biden brain power to be laid on the table for all to see.

So how did Biden respond to the inquiry as to his mental fitness? Rosen’s question got sandwiched in between repeated inquiries from reporters dealing with Russia’s squaring off for an invasion of Ukraine. Biden’s answers about Putin and his plans were disjointed and unclear and he indicated that a small incursion by Russia might not be such a big deal. What’s Putin going to do? That, no one knows, he said.

When his turn came, Rosen, with his black, duck-billed mask, prefaced his inquiry by noting that he had respect for Biden and his many accomplishments, and for the office of President. But why, he asked, “do you suppose such large segments of the American electorate have come to harbor such profound concerns over your cognitive fitness? ”

With a painted-on smile and an empty look, Biden responded: “I have no idea.”

A couple of incidents in the past should have tipped him off that citizens were wondering if he was playing with a full deck. In August of 2020, during an interview with the National Association of Black Journalists, he was asked if he had taken a cognitive test. Snapping back testily, he said the question was “unfair,” and “no, I haven’t taken a test…Why the hell would I……that’s like someone being asked if he was a “junkie.”

Around that same time, President Trump was being hounded by a hostile press corps which was accusing him of having mental problems. Reporters demanded that he submit to a cognitive examination under the scrutiny of doctors. After non-stop badgering by the liberal press, President Trump submitted to an examination and passed with a perfect score.

Last fall, 14 congressmen sent a letter to President Biden requesting that he take a cognitive examination and that the findings be published. His conduct and public appearances, they said, merited the examination. The letter had been drafted by Congressman Ronny Jackson of Texas, a physician and a retired navy Admiral who had served as the White House Doctor to both Presidents Obama and Trump. He knew Biden well, and while Biden was not his patient, as was Obama, he observed and interacted with the Vice President on an almost daily basis.

Elected to Congress in 2020, Dr. Jackson has said that Biden is cognitively impaired and does “not know what he is doing….and is dangerous.. and is incapable of serving as President.” Some one else is pulling his strings, he has said. The highly respected columnist and historian, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, has said that Biden should not be holding any office. “His mind continues to fade at a geometric rate.”

Too often, tough questions posed to Biden by the friendly liberal press have dealt with his favorite ice cream flavor, and until Rosen, no inquiring reporters had spoken of the concern over his questionable acuity. On one occasion, at his first news conference a year ago, a question was prefaced by a NPR newswoman who noted that he (Biden) has been a moral hero to the country for years. The answer by Biden (whatever it was) came easy, and no teleprompter or crib notes were necessary.

His reflections on the Ukraine-Russia conflict were difficult to follow. His talk of big and little incursions which no one understood, were subsequently “rolled back” by his press aides and his advisors, who explained what the President actually was saying, or intending to say.

A few days after the news conference, citizens got a look at another Biden face. Peter Doocy of Fox News asked the President if he thought that the current “inflation” was a political liability for Democrats in the approaching midterm elections. The question was fair, given the country’s now roaring inflationary trends. Assuming that his mike was off and that Doocy was on his way, Biden said sarcastically into the mike, “no that’s an asset…what a stupid son of a bitch.” He later apologized to Doocy in a telephone call.

Joe Biden has been around Washington for a half century, as a six-term senator from Delaware and a Vice President, and now as the nation’s 46th President. He has an undisputed track record as a liar and a plagiarist and as a touchy-feely guy with women; and as the “Lamborghini of Gaffes” (a description given him by the Washington Post).

He has told foolish stories about the infamous “Corn Pop,” the swimming pool bully of Delaware who he (Biden) physically put down during his days as a lifeguard. He has made other boastful comments about the hair on his legs which bristled in the noon-day sun.

He told of once being arrested while trying to see Nelson Mandela, and that was pure malarkey. He boasted at political rallies that he excelled as a student at Syracuse university, while attending law school on an academic scholarship and finishing in the upper half of his class. In truth, as he later acknowledged, he finished close to the very bottom of his class, and he had no scholarship. Former classmates have been quoted as having described Biden as the “dumbest s.o.b.” in the school.

But despite his history of yarns, lies, gaffes and incompetent judgments, the media has always had his back. He was just “Plain Ole Joe,” a regular guy doing his thing. Mark Levin, a lawyer, author and television personality has described Biden as a “bumbling fool” in having orchestrated the incompetent exit of America from Afghanistan. Levin was chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese in the Ronald Reagan administration.

President Trump disparages Biden as “incompetent,” and a “whacko with a low IQ.” He has also called for Biden to submit to a cognitive examination. In response, Biden said he would like to take Trump behind the woodshed and beat the hell out of him.

With the James Rosen question at the news conference, the issue of Biden’s intelligence and cognitive ability to serve in the office of President has become a glaring issue which needs to be dealt with. As requested by 14 members of Congress, along with other doctors, Biden needs to take a cognitive exam. Passing it would give citizens new confidence in their president. Failing it would open another door.

Bill Juneau worked for 25 years as a reporter and night city editor at the Chicago Tribune. Subsequently he became a partner in a law firm and also served as a village prosecutor and as a consultant to the Cook County Circuit Court and to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He is currently writing columns and the ‘Florida Bill‘ blog.