President Biden faced a grueling week with a damaging special counsel report questioning his mental sharpness as he simultaneously made several blunders that added to the problem.
Biden has faced questions from critics over his cognitive abilities for some time, but recent days have amplified those concerns perhaps more than any other week in his presidency.
Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, released Thursday, recommended no criminal charges against the president. The investigation, however, uncovered “evidence that Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.”
The report also caused Biden and the White House headaches by raising concerns over his memory. It laid out how the president struggled to remember key details of his life during interviews with investigators, including when he served as vice president and when his son Beau passed away.
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“In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse,” the report stated. “He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 — when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’).”
“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” it continued. “And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him. Among other things, he mistakenly said he ‘had a real difference’ of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama.”
The investigators, who regarded Biden as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” ultimately feared his lawyers would use his “limitations” in his defense if it went to trial.
In a case where the government must prove that Mr. Biden knew he had possession of the classified Afghanistan documents after the vice presidency and chose to keep those documents, knowing he was violating the law, we expect that at trial, his attorneys would emphasize these limitations in his recall,” the report said.
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In addition to the report laying out concerns about his “hazy” memory, Biden’s week was filled with gaffes that exacerbated the problem. One occurred as he defended his memory following the report when he referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi as the “president of Mexico.”
Earlier that day, Biden spoke at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference and mixed up “red state and blue state” with “red state and green state” while giving his remarks.
“When I said — when I pushed these programs — I said I’m going to be the president of everybody we live in a red state or green state,” Biden said.
Before that, on Wednesday, Biden spoke at a New York fundraising event and claimed he talked to late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 2021 while recalling past conversations.
Biden said that Kohl asked him what he would say if he learned 1,000 people stormed the British Parliament in an attempt to prevent the next prime minister from assuming office.
Kohl, however, did not attend the annual meeting, as he had been dead for four years when it took place. Instead, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was at the gathering.
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And on Sunday, Biden told a Las Vegas crowd he met with François Mitterrand, a French president who has been dead for 28 years. He made the mistake while retelling the story of a gathering with French President Emmanuel Macron at a G7 meeting shortly before he entered the White House.
“I sat down, and I said, ‘America’s back,'” Biden told the attendees. “And Mitterrand from Germany — I mean from France — looked at me and said …”
Biden then gathered his thoughts to complete the sentence: “Well, how long are you back for?”
Mitterrand, meanwhile, was France’s president from 1981 to 1995. He passed away in 1996.
Biden’s gaffes from this week accumulated faster than usual. However, he has a history of them involving deceased individuals, from referencing conversations with people who died before he was born to asking where they were during events.
In the fall of 2022, Biden told a group of supporters he spoke to the man who “invented” insulin. Insulin was co-discovered by Frederick Banting and John Macleod. Banting died in 1941, while Macleod passed away in 1935. Biden was born in 1942.
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In September 2022, Biden looked for the late Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski in a crowd while speaking at an event. She died in a car crash the month before.
And on the campaign trail in 2019, he told a group of donors that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died six years earlier, was worried about the U.S. under President Donald Trump’s leadership.
The White House did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Fox News Digital’s Elizabeth Pritchett and Cameron Cawthorne contributed to this report.