"I Almost Fell Asleep Onstage" - Biden Blames Debate-Debacle On Jet-Lag, But...

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jul 03, 2024 - 05:50 PM

Desperately trying to outrace a growing wave of pleas to abandon his reelection campaign, President Biden on Tuesday dubiously blamed his terrible debate performance on exhaustion from a busy June travel schedule. However, as he was speaking, the New York Times was firing yet another torpedo at his presidency, publishing an article in which various US and foreign officials said his mental lapses have grown more frequent and pronounced in recent months.    

Speaking at a campaign fundraiser in McLean, Virginia, Biden struck an apologetic tone as he acknowledged widespread Democratic disappointment in his Thursday debate with Donald Trump. He also tried to blame his performance -- characterized by long pauses, garbled answers, a weak, raspy voice and slack-jawed staring when it wasn't his turn to speak -- on his June travel schedule. 

“I decided to travel around the world a couple of times…shortly before the debate. I didn’t listen to my staff … and then I almost fell asleep onstage. It’s not an excuse but an explanation."

However, the timing of Biden's international travel undermines his claim. He traveled to France for D-Day commemoration festivities from June 5 to 9. After returning to the United States, he went to Italy for a G-7 Summit on June 13 and 14. From there, he headed directly to a Los Angeles fundraiser on June 15. That was the end of it -- the debate was 12 days after the travel whirlwind ended.  

Keep in mind, too, it's not like Biden was schlepping a roller-bag through airports. It's hard to imagine a more luxurious and rest-accommodating mode of international travel than what a US president experiences on Air Force One, to say nothing of the traffic-clearing motorcades that whisk him from point to point upon his arrival.

On top of that, Biden capped his travel with a restful stay at his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware home before spending the next week at Camp David preparing for the debate. There, his daily schedule reportedly started at 11 am with time allocated for daily afternoon naps. The travel excuse is all so implausible, even the fellow travelers at CNN can't bring themselves to endorse it: 

Around the same time Biden was trying to convince donors that his obvious dementia is really jet lag, the Times delivered another broadside to the 81-year-old's campaign, relating damning accounts from several US and foreign officials and others who say they've observed Biden in private and have seen a notable decline in recent months.

Here's just a sampling from the lengthy Times report:  

  • "People in the room with him more recently said that the lapses seemed to be growing more frequent, more pronounced and more worrisome."
  • "The recent moments of disorientation generated concern among advisers and allies alike. He seemed confused at points during a D-Day anniversary ceremony in France on June 6. The next day, he misstated the purpose of a new tranche of military aid to Ukraine when meeting with its president."
  • "On June 10, he appeared to freeze up at an early celebration of the Juneteenth holiday."
  • "On June 18, his soft-spoken tone and brief struggle to summon the name of his homeland security secretary at an immigration event unnerved some of his allies at the event, who traded alarmed looks and later described themselves as 'shaken up'.”
  • "By many accounts, as evidenced by video footage, observation and interviews, Mr. Biden is not the same today as he was even when he took office 3½ years ago. The White House regularly releases corrected transcripts of his remarks, in which he frequently mixes up places, people or dates."
  • "He often confuses names and details and makes statements that are incoherent."
  • "During a meeting...with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, Mr. Biden spoke so softly it was almost impossible to hear."
  • "[Italian Prime Minister] Meloni and the other leaders were acutely sensitive to Mr. Biden’s physical condition, discussing it privately among themselves."
  • "Asked if one could imagine putting Mr. Biden into the same room with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia today, a former U.S. official who had helped prepare for the trip went silent for a while, then said, 'I just don’t know.' A former senior European official answered the same question by saying flatly, 'No'.”

As we've seen in recent days, others in Biden's circle stepped forward to avow that he's sharp and energetic behind closed doors. However, having seen Biden's debate performance for themselves -- and as more and more officials provide disturbing accounts of his decline -- only the most self-deluding Democrats are willing to credit these reassuring accounts, or Biden's jet lag excuse:   

Look for the Times report to accelerate the pace of demands for Biden to withdraw from the 2024 race. We've already seen the editorial board of the Times urge him to call it quits, along with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a variety of columnists and pundits. In a major milestone, the first federal elected official joined the growing chorus on Tuesday: Texas Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett issued a statement saying "I am hopeful that he will make the painful and difficult decision to withdraw." 

Other Democratic officeholders, while stopping just short of urging Biden to quit, are striking him with daggers of their own. In an op-ed, Maine Rep. Jared Golden wrote, "While I don’t plan to vote for him, Donald Trump is going to win.” Similarly, Washington Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez told KATU, "We all saw what we saw. You can’t undo that, and the truth, I think, is that Biden is going to lose to Trump...the damage has been done."