The White House launched a fierce response Friday to a devastating special counsel report that criticized Joe Biden’s failing memory, describing it as a political coup against the president in an election year.
US Vice President Kamala Harris led the charge to deal with the fallout after the investigation cleared Biden of illegally possessing classified documents, but delivered a damning description of him as an “elderly, well-meaning man with a bad memory.
The 81-year-old Democrat reacted angrily at a late-night news conference Thursday by insisting his “memory is good,” although he later compounded the problem by briefly confusing the Egyptian and Mexican presidents.
“The manner in which the president’s behavior was characterized in this report could not be more erroneous on the facts and (was) clearly politically motivated,” Harris said when asked about the report. special advisor Robert Hur.
His comments marked a new line of attack for Biden and the White House, moving from criticizing the report to questioning the motivations of the special prosecutor himself.
Hur was appointed by then-Republican President Donald Trump as U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland in 2017, before being named by Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland as special counsel in the documents case.
As questions swirl around Biden’s mental acuity as he seeks a second term, the spotlight is also on Harris, as she would be the first to succeed as president if he resigns or is hit with inability.
Both Biden and Harris are suffering from extremely low approval ratings as they campaign for four more years in the White House, most likely against Trump.
“Gratuitous and inappropriate”
The White House, for its part, criticized these “gratuitous and inappropriate criticisms”.
White House Counsel’s Office spokesman Ian Sams did not say Hur was partisan, but suggested he felt pressure to “go beyond his remit” because of the polarized political situation in the United States.
“When the inevitable conclusion is that the facts and evidence do not support any charges, one wonders why this report spends time making gratuitous and inappropriate criticism of the president,” said spokesman Ian Sams during a press briefing.
“We’re in a very high-pressure political environment. And when you’re the first special counsel in history to not indict anyone, there’s pressure to criticize.”
Republicans have called on Biden to resign. Trump, who faces criminal charges for his possession of classified documents and then refusal to cooperate with investigators, accused the Justice Department of double standards.
The White House’s Sams also downplayed suggestions that criticism of the report’s age could hurt Biden in November polls, saying “I think the public is smart.”
Biden gave his own furious response from the White House on Thursday evening, particularly lambasting the special prosecutor for claiming he was unable to remember even the date of his son Beau’s death in 2015.
“To suggest that he couldn’t remember when his son died is really off base,” Sams added.