A stunning 86 percent of Americans believe U.S. president Joe Biden is too old to serve a second term in office, according to the results of a new ABC News/ Ipsos survey.
The survey – which you can read here – was conducted in the aftermath of a disastrous week for the incumbent president. It surveyed a “nationally representative” sample of 528 adults between February 9-10, 2024.
Last week, a report from Biden’s own Department of Justice (DOJ) concluded he “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency” – yet surprisingly, the incumbent president will not be prosecuted for these criminal acts. Obviously, DOJ previously opted in favor of prosecuting former U.S. president Donald Trump for similar alleged offenses – although the prosecutor in the Biden case, Robert Hur, cited “material distinctions” between the two investigations.
Among them? Allegations that Trump “obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it,” per the report.
Either way, Trump backers viewed Hur’s decision as a continuation of the double standard which has existed for these two presidents dating back to their entanglements in Ukraine – particularly Biden’s entanglement. For many, it marked another example of the “weaponization of justice” which Trump has decried en route to becoming the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
Particularly problematic for Biden, though? The DOJ document (.pdf) made clear its decision not to prosecute Biden was due in part to his cognitive decline. Specifically, it noted Biden’s “memory was significantly limited” and that the president had “limited precision and recall” of prior events. Assuming the case were to go to trial, Biden “would likely present himself to a jury … as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
“It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him – by then a former president well into his eighties – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness,” the report concluded.
“(Biden) would likely present himself to a jury as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”
-Robert Hur, special prosecutor
Biden responded to the situation by scheduling a Thursday evening press conference which many believe highlighted some of the concerns raised by his own justice department. While I personally believe Biden fared better than media reports suggested, that is clearly the minority view.
The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal described him as “angry and snappish,” and cited his inability to distinguish between Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“These episodes are more frequent, and they are typical of someone with a failing short-term memory, the paper opined. “Episodes and names from the past fill the void of recent events he can’t recall. Such decline is part of the human condition, and it’s not Biden’s fault. But what is his fault is telling the American people that he can capably serve another four years as president.”
Even before Biden’s widely panned presser, NBC News released a survey (.pdf) which revealed that 62 percent of voters had “major concerns” about Biden’s “mental and physical health” compared to 14 percent who had moderate concerns and 13 percent who had minor concerns. Only 11 percent of respondents indicated they had “no real concerns” about Biden’s fitness for office.
In fairness to Biden, the latest ABC/ Ipsos poll found that 62 percent of Americans think Trump is also too old to serve another term as president. Only 35 percent of GOP voters feel that way about Trump, though, compared to 73 percent of Democrats who believe Biden is past his political expiration date.
Biden, 81, is the oldest person ever to serve as president – and the oldest president at the start of his term. However, were Trump to win a second, non-consecutive term this fall, he would become the oldest person ever to be sworn in as president – edging Biden by several months.
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Who is too old to serve as president next January?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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