So President Joe Biden has his first press conference as president this last week, over 60 days after becoming president.
And the very first thing the White House press corps did was, but of course, display its lack of curiosity over why this was so. Not to mention pretend there was nothing out of the ordinary going on.
Where to begin?
The Washington Free Beacon headlined the press conference performance this way: "WATCH: Biden Bumbles His Way Through First WH Press Conference."
The Examiner began their story this way:
“President Joe Biden struggled through his first official press conference on Thursday, pausing frequently to check his notes on the podium and occasionally losing his train of thought as if distracted by the voices echoing madly in his geriatric brain.”
As The New York Post has pointed out here Biden used “cheat sheets” to get through his presser. As photographs show, this included a photo guide to reporters with the photos of reporters he was to call on circled.
Biden also had printed cards with notes for him to refer to. One photo closeup captures the President with cards in hand, the top one which begins this way, bold print in the original:
* The United States now ranks
13th globally in infrastructure quality/down from 5th place in 2002.
Note: In spite of the note card saying the US ranked 13th in the world, Biden bobbled it and said it was 85th…then corrected himself. And so on went the list on that single card. There were, apparently, also notes “kept inside a three-ring binder.”
The press conference lasted 62 minutes with a mere 10 questions taken. The Post noted this:
…the president appeared to repeatedly lose his train of thought, forgetting questions and asking reporters if they wanted him to give detailed answers.
In fairness, as Fox News has noted:
The use of note cards is not unprecedented at press conferences. In November 2019, Trump held a notebook with handwritten prompts during a press conference on testimony delivered at his first impeachment hearing.
The real underlying problem here is Biden’s repeated appearance of frailty and confusion, a problem underlined when the President recently fell not once but three times going up the steps of Air Force One. Part of the same problem is, as Fox’s Sean Hannity has said often, Biden’s apparent “cognitive struggles.”
Recall, Biden is the president whose campaign kept him stashed away in his Delaware basement for the bulk of the campaign. Here is Hannity making his point in this headline from Fox:
Sean Hannity explains why Biden's fall, cognitive struggles are a 'nightmare scenario’
'This is a national security issue,' Fox News host tells viewers
Sean said this in his opening monologue:
Honestly, I watched this. It was sad. You got to almost feel sorry for Joe Biden. From what we can clearly observe now on pretty much a daily basis, he is obviously not doing well. He wasn’t doing well on the campaign. And the scary part of it is, now this is a national security issue.
Because it's not just Sean Hannity making an observation that Joe Biden is in fact weak, and frail, and struggling cognitively. Guess what? More than half the country agrees with me. The whole world can see what we see every day, including hostile regimes, hostile actors and America’s enemies.
In addition was the time of day of the press conference - 1:15 in the afternoon. Yes, there are plenty of presidents who have had pressers in the middle of the day. One of the more memorable and repeated sights in the Trump-era was the President, going to or coming from his helicopter on the White House South Lawn, stopping in front of the gathered press scrum to do verbal battle.
The difference here is that, as the Hannity and many, many other comments from multiples of others make clear, there is considerable skepticism about both Biden’s physical and mental health. The impression is well out there that Biden’s staff shelters him from evening events.
The late Rush Limbaugh described the concern in September, 2020 during the fall campaign. Here’s Rush from a September, 2020 show. Said Rush:
You’ve seen it with family members who had dementia. That as the day went on, as the afternoon grew later and then shifted into evening, you could see an obvious deterioration in the mental acuity of the family member who had dementia or Alzheimer’s. I know people who have seen it with their own parents and grandparents.
Freshman Texas Republican Congressman Ronny Jackson also has concerns. Jackson is a physician, and not just any physician. Jackson, a Navy rear admiral, served as the White House physician for three presidents - Bush 43, Obama and Trump. From The Washington Examiner is this about a recent Jackson tweet: "Former White House physician says 'something's not right' with Biden's health."
The story had Jackson’s tweet posted on the Biden fall on the steps, made as Biden’s much put off press conference approached. Said Dr. Jackson:
I served as White House physician under THREE Presidents. I’ve seen what it takes physically AND mentally to do the job. I can tell you right now that the way Biden is hiding from the public is a MAJOR red flag. Something’s not right!
It takes all of seconds to find one story after another out there with discussions and speculations about Biden’s physical and mental frailties.
The White House press corps are not filled with stupid people. They most certainly are aware of all this, not to mention that they literally are in the White House everyday and can see this physical and mental frailty close up.
To be crystal clear here, I am not a doctor. Much less Joe Biden’s doctor. But I am a son who had to deal with aging parents, now gone, who struggled with exactly this problem and I have seen it close up.
This is a media column, not a medical column. But it is precisely because the subject is the White House press corps and their close proximity to President Biden that it utterly baffles why no one - no one - made a point to ask Biden about any of this. Why the cue cards? Why the notebook? Will he be holding primetime press conferences?
There appears to be no member of the mainstream media in the White House press corps who has the slightest curiosity about what is plainly seen.
But not to worry. As seen here in left-wing The Washington Monthly, Biden’s stumbling, cheat-seated performance gets rave reviews: "Biden’s Press Conference Showed a Focused President."
Uh-huh. Congressman Jackson is exactly correct when he says; “Something’s not right!” The admiral doctor-turned congressman is exactly right. Well aside from Joe Biden, something’s not right with the mainstream liberal media.
It’s called a lack of curiosity.