Questions about Joe Biden’s mental fitness arose again last week.
The occasion was his signing on Thursday of two executive orders, both related to health, both reversing executive orders signed by Donald Trump. It was during his comments on the second, which eliminates Trump’s restrictions on abortion, that Biden’s difficulties arose. His words began to come out haltingly and at one point he referred to his predecessor as if he was still president. The video is below, followed by a partial transcript.
And the second — uh, uh — the second order I’m gonna be signing also changes what the president has done — president, the president — former president has done. And it, uh, a memorandum reverse [sic] the — my predecessor’s attack on women’s health [begins coughing] excuse me, health access as we continue to battle COVID-19, even more critical Americans having meaningful health care.
As an aside, it needs to be emphasized that Biden’s views on abortion are a total reversal of his position earlier in his career. In a 1974 interview with “Washingtonian,” for example, he said, “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”
As to his clearly declining mental alertness, this was once a major point of concern for Democrats. Back in September 2019, Democratic hopeful Julian Castro took a jab at Biden’s failing memory at a primary debate. Fellow candidate Cory Booker took it a step further, telling CNN, “I think that we are at a tough point right now, because there’s a lot of people who are concerned about Joe Biden’s ability to carry the ball across the end line [sic] without fumbling.”