News broke yesterday in the Wall Street Journal that the “Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s 37-year-old day-to-day ruler, mocks President Biden in private, making fun of the 79-year-old’s gaffes and questioning his mental acuity.”
I’d like to be offended by a foreign leader making fun of our president, but everyone I know mocks Biden and makes fun of him. Here are some of his “gaffes” in just the past week:
- Biden appeared to have “fallen asleep” or just shut down in the middle of a television interview. After Biden drifted into silence and stared at the floor rather than answer a question, the MSNBC host had to prompt him by saying, “Mr. President?” This episode led to some calling him not competent and others just making fun of him.
- He said he wants to restrict gun owners to “eight-bullets per round.” Generally, “a round” means a bullet or cartridge, so that’s like saying “eight bullets per bullet.” He probably meant 8-bullets in a magazine, but this is the same guy who said a union worker was “full of sh*t” and wanted to take away his “AR-14.” Biden also called for a ban on assault weapons after a 14-year-old used a shotgun (not an assault weapon) to shoot people. He’s confused.
- In a story published Sunday, Biden said his student debt forgiveness plan passed congress by “a vote or two.” While such a plan usually requires a vote by congress, the branch of government that is supposed to control the purse strings, Biden is trying to force it through by executive fiat and it never passed congress.
- When giving the web address for the student debt forgiveness website, Biden spelled out the dot in “.com” This is far from the first time he’s read the teleprompter instructions.
When faced with a tough question from the media, Biden has been snapping back at the journalists. (Just Google “Biden snaps at reporter” and you’ll see more than 4 million hits.) When he’s polite, he refers to a reporter as “kid,” when he’s rude, he calls a reporter a “stupid son of a b*tch.”
Anger or meanness is often a side effect of dementia, in part because people who are losing control of their cognitive abilities lose their filter. They may also lose their ability to understand why people ask questions. For example, the media asks the president questions because it is their job. Biden takes it personally and snaps at them. He is a counter-puncher, and without his filter and any empathy, he just reacts.
Let’s get back to MBS mocking Biden. That’s not the real story. The real story is how many other world leaders are mocking Biden? I think the majority are.
Here’s another question: How likely is Putin or Xi to try to take advantage of Biden’s addled wits? Might they wonder if he is even capable of using the nuclear football?
Perhaps it is Biden’s lack of a filter that has caused him to go off script and say that we will defend Taiwan, which is contrary to our policy of so-called “strategic ambiguity.” This may raise doubts in China, or the lack of ambiguity may help them plot their approach more carefully.
It’s one thing for a world leader to go off script in a one-on-one conversation with another leader, but it’s another thing to do so on a public stage and then have to suffer the indignity of having your staff walk it back and try to explain “what he really meant.”
These are dangerous times. Biden’s lack of mental acuity and questionable cognitive abilities makes them even more dangerous. It would be a shame if a war started because someone underestimated the U.S. thanks to Biden’s senior moments, or if in a period of confusion he did something that no one could walk back.