Mitt Romney Defends Joe Biden: ‘Sometimes You Say The Wrong Word’
WASHINGTON ― Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) defended Joe Biden amid questions about the president’s mental acuity following the release of a special counsel’s report that cast the 81-year-old as an elderly man with “significant” memory problems.
“I’ve worked with the president, and I haven’t seen anything that’s abnormal before. It was like President Trump saying Nikki Haley three times instead of Nancy Pelosi. Sometimes you say the wrong word,” Romney told HuffPost on Friday, referring to slip-ups that 77-year-old Donald Trump has made about world leaders in recent weeks.
But Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, also called Biden’s age “a huge issue” in the election.
“The late 80s is kind of a tough time of thinking of running the country. And Donald Trump is not a lot younger,” he added.
Special counsel Robert Hur announced on Thursday that the Department of Justice would not be pressing charges against Biden for retaining classified documents after his vice presidency, saying that his case differed greatly from that of Trump, who has been charged with willfully doing the same after a Justice Department investigation.
But in the report, Hur characterized Biden as an elderly man with a very limited memory and said that the president couldn’t recall when he was Barack Obama’s vice president or when his son Beau died, claims that the White House and many Democrats slammed as “gratuitous” and out of bounds.
Biden was particularly frustrated by the claim he’d forgotten when his son died, venting frustration at a contentious last-minute press conference at the White House on Thursday.
“How in the hell dare he raise that?” Biden told reporters. “I don’t need anyone to remind me of when he passed away.”
While answering questions Thursday about the situation in Gaza, Biden mistakenly referred to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi as the president of Mexico, adding to his slip-ups about European world leaders in recent days.
But as Republicans and the media got whipped up into a frenzy over the special counsel report and Biden again mixing up the names of world leaders, Romney waved the matter off.
“I thought he did a good job in the press conference,” Romney said. “He said Mexico instead of Egypt. Everybody knew what he was saying, and that’s not an unusual thing.”
Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who faced similar questions about his health and fitness for office following a stroke, also downplayed concerns about Biden’s memory.
“It’s a big nothing burger,” Fetterman told HuffPost. “We can talk about Trump’s gaffes, we can talk about Biden’s gaffes… We can talk about one’s old, we can talk about the other one’s old. It’s still going to be the same ticket, like it was in 2020.”
“So we can keep talking back and forth, but it comes back to the very core choice that we have as a nation: Do we want order over chaos? Do we want the truth over lying? Do we want virtue over just corruption and sleaze?” he said on a press call earlier in the day.