How important are appearances to Joe Biden? Very. He tries hard to appear in charge, though he regularly trips himself up by revealing to reporters at press briefings that he’s “not supposed to take questions” or something along those lines. He has argued that he’s cognitively sound despite a constant struggle to remember things or read aloud a sentence without stumbling over the words.
But the most telling evidence yet of his obsession with optics came in a July 23 phone call he made to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in which he asked his counterpart to help foster the “perception” that the Taliban weren’t winning, “whether it’s true or not.”