Monday, July 15, 2024

Democrats gaslighted Americans about Biden’s cognitive decline. The debate exposed the truth.

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Joe Biden’s inner circle in his administration had to have known about the president’s physical and mental decline.

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The debate Thursday between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump was full of surprises, revelations and disappointments.

The first, most important revelation: It took only 10 minutes to realize Biden is not fit to be commander in chief for another term.

With a raspy, quiet voice, Biden struggled to speak in cogent sentences. As I predicted in a column published before the debate, he was incoherent. Often, he rambled, murmured and misspoke (“We finally beat Medicare,” he said at one point). In fact, the most articulate portion of the debate was when the two men argued about their golf handicaps. Unreal.

Biden’s not qualified to be president

Biden’s disastrous performance raised immediate questions about his well-being. By contrast, even if you don’t like Trump − and I am a Republican who doesn’t − anyone with eyes and ears could see and hear that he was, at the least, energetic and able to make clear what he wanted to say.

Yes, he lied. So did Biden. Both men running for president gave dishonest answers to the American public. Unfortunately, we may have even worse problems to grapple with at present.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, posted on X that he intends to submit a resolution calling on the administration to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare that the president is “unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”

Who won the debate? Biden has no business running for president. The debate proved it.

On Friday, The New York Times, a fortress of liberal opinions, ran not one, not two, but multiple columns from progressives, including Frank Bruni, Thomas Friedman, Michelle Goldberg and Nicholas Kristof, expressing disappointment in Biden’s performance. Several of the writers said Biden should drop out.

Biden’s inner circle in his administration had to have known about the president’s physical and mental decline. It’s obvious that he is struggling and has been for many months. Video recorded in the CNN studio after the debate, and posted on Politico and other news sites, caught first lady Jill Biden walking the seemingly confused, elderly president off stage the same way a gentle mom helps a toddler navigate stairs.

As I’ve said before, people age. Biden is 81. I’ll be lucky when I’m that age if I know what I did a week earlier. But I won’t be running for president, and Biden’s mental and physical health clearly disqualify him from this vital role. He’s running for president of the United States, not World’s Best Grandpa.

Americans deserve answers to their questions

Biden’s poor performance raises important questions about the integrity of the Democratic Party and his inner circle, and the consequences for our nation’s future of their decision to hide Biden’s condition from the American people.

Republicans have expressed concerns about Biden’s well-being since at least 2022. Yet, conservatives’ questions were met with indifference, disdain and smears. The Biden administration even told concerned observers that Trump campaign videos showing Biden’s poor cognitive abilities were “cheap fakes.”

Even now, the White House claims that Biden simply had a cold Thursday night.

The Democratic Party must think Americans are stupid.

So, I have questions for Democratic leaders and for journalists who regularly cover the White House: When did you first know Biden was declining? Why didn’t you say anything? Why wait to acknowledge the truth until it’s obvious to the entire world? Who is making day-to-day decisions for the executive branch and for our nation in the place of a president who is struggling to walk and speak?

Will Democrats replace Biden? These governors are strong options to beat Trump.

Is this why the debate was held at the end of June, months before most presidential debates are held? When Mitt Romney ran against Barack Obama in 2012, the first debate was in the fall. Same with the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Same again for the first Biden-Trump debate in 2020.

Americans deserve answers.

It seems clear now the Democratic Party’s leaders lied to the American people, and to members of their own party who could have chosen an alternative candidate during the primaries. They told Americans to doubt what they saw and heard with their own eyes and ears. They gaslighted Americans and said Biden was fine when people started to ask questions. Democratic leaders had to have known that Biden was in cognitive decline long before the debate and chose not to tell us. They should be held accountable for their lies.

Even the timing of liberal columnists calling for Biden to step down raises cynical questions: It’s rare that liberals would even say such a thing about their nominee, let alone all at once. After months of Republicans questioning Biden’s competency, only to be brushed off or told we were too mean, prominent leftists in the news media are now suggesting simultaneously that he’s unfit and should even step down after a 90-minute debate performance?

It’s not brave to call for Biden to step down the day after the debate when everyone else does if you suspected six months ago he was not fit for the presidency. That’s not courage, that’s complacency. Some might even call it a cover-up.

For Democrats who suggest flippantly, “Well, at least our nominee isn’t a convicted felon.” We know. I don’t like that fact, either. But at least we know Trump is a convicted felon and a delusional narcissist. At this juncture, anything about Trump’s character flaws seems like a deflection technique to avoid accountability for pushing on America a nominee who can’t walk down the stairs by himself.

America’s future hangs in the balance

Americans have a choice on who governs our country. It is a beautiful but heavy responsibility that we all bear. We are not a monarchy or a dictatorship that must put up with an aging, unwell leader. We can choose differently. We can demand better.

But party leaders play an important role, too. How will Democrats settle on a replacement? How could a replacement candidate organize a national campaign just four months before the election? Would scrapping the Biden campaign this late in the game essentially forfeit the election to Trump? Is all of this too late?

If Americans want to choose Trump, that is their prerogative. But they shouldn’t do so because he is the least horrible of two horrible candidates. They shouldn’t do so because the other guy can’t string together a coherent sentence.

Americans deserve better.

Nicole Russell is an opinion columnist with USA TODAY. She lives in Texas with her four kids. Sign up for her newsletter, The Right Track, and get it delivered to your inbox.

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