The US leader has disputed a claim in a Justice Department report that his recollection of events is deteriorating
US President Joe Biden has angrily denied assertions that he is unable to remember key events, despite a report by the Justice Department describing him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.” The US leader issued a rebuke on Thursday after Special Counsel Robert Hur declined to prosecute him for mishandling classified information.
A 345-page document released by Hur’s office detailed the investigation into materials that Biden retained at his personal properties after leaving the office of vice president in 2017. Some of the documents were shared with the ghostwriter of his memoirs.
The special counsel declined to prosecute the US leader, predicting that the Justice Department would not secure a conviction.
“At trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury… as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” the report stated.
Biden treated the materials as memorabilia and personal property that he was entitled to keep, perceiving himself as a “historic figure,” Hur wrote. The report cited former President Ronald Reagan, who kept his personal diaries at home even though they contained classified information, instead of submitting them to the National Archives.
The document listed several examples of Biden’s memory failing him during interviews with Hur’s team. He did not remember when he served as vice president or when his second term in that office started, and failed to recollect “even within several years, when his son Beau died”. Records of his conversation with a ghostwriter in 2017 indicated that Biden’s memory already had “significant limitations.”
“I am well-meaning, I am an elderly man and I know what I am doing,” Biden insisted at a press conference when asked about the report.
“My memory is so bad I let you speak,” he added when pressed by journalists. “Look, my memory is fine. Take a look at what I’ve done since I became president.”
Minutes later, Biden appeared to erroneously call Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the leader of Mexico, when discussing the situation in Gaza and Washington’s efforts to get humanitarian aid into the Palestinian enclave.
The gaffe was the latest case of Biden confusing foreign dignitaries. In the past several days alone, he has misnamed French President Emmanuel Macron as Francois Mitterrand and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel as Helmut Kohl, when recalling his participation at the 2021 G7 summit in England. While Mitterrand and Kohl had led their respective nations, both were dead by the time of the G7 gathering.