In a press conference that unfolded against the backdrop of burgeoning global tensions and economic discussions, the US President's recent appearance in Vietnam has once again thrust his "Sleepy Joe" image into the limelight. Critics of the President, who coined the nickname, contend that Biden's physical and mental capabilities are waning as he navigates the challenges of his presidency.
The press conference, held at the culmination of President Biden's two-nation tour of India and Vietnam, left many observers bewildered by a series of meandering statements and peculiar exchanges with the media.
Happening Now: President Biden holds a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. https://t.co/yJxOxD20d8— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 10, 2023
As the questions flowed, a moment of levity emerged when President Biden responded to a query about his interactions with Chinese President Xi Jinping by exclaiming, "I tell you what, I don't know about you, but I'm going to go to bed." But underneath the chuckles, it left us pondering if he was serious about tackling global issues or just ready for a catnap.
Then came the fossil fuels fumble.
When asked about his stance on reducing carbon emissions, the 80-year-old US President embarked on an adventure of verbal gymnastics, invoking an obscure John Wayne western film that left the media scratching their heads.
What further added to the strangeness of the press conference was its abrupt conclusion.
The President’s microphone was muted by unseen hands and jazz music began serenading the bewildered reporters. His press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, swiftly intervened with a firm, "Thank you, everybody. This ends the press conference. Thanks, everyone."
Joe Biden’s staff cut his mic in the middle of a sentence during a press conference— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 10, 2023
Who is really in charge?
However, it is crucial to acknowledge that while these moments may fuel the "Sleepy Joe" narrative, they also highlight the challenges of governing as an octogenarian. At 80 years old, the US President is navigating the presidency in an era when age and cognitive capability are front and center in public discourse.
Hanging in the basement. pic.twitter.com/cmaivB0Gun— Herbie Ziskend (@HerbieZiskend46) September 11, 2023
His age, combined with concerns about his health and stamina, has prompted questions about his ability to lead effectively, especially considering the prospect of serving until the age of 86 if re-elected. At 86, he'd be the oldest president in US history, and it's hard to campaign when your primary debate strategy is, "I'm not asleep."
You can see the exact moment when Peter Doocy realizes he just demolished one of his own network’s talking points pic.twitter.com/57O4EAlUIe— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 10, 2023
During his visit to Vietnam, President Biden received an unexpected compliment from Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam's 79-year-old Communist Party leader, who remarked that the President "looked better than ever."
President Biden then participated in a meeting with General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng. After the meeting, the two leaders delivered remarks. pic.twitter.com/OWNwkY971P— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 10, 2023
While he may receive charming compliments from Vietnamese leaders, polls back home tell a different story, revealing that a significant majority of voters harbor concerns about President Biden's physical and mental competence and express doubts about his ability to endure a second term in office.
Even when Joe Biden proves he is well up to the task and rigors of being president, the media uses it to bring up his age again, while giving “215 lb” Trump who is already slurring his words and is only 3 years younger than Biden a pass. It’s shameful. pic.twitter.com/J9w1YKqmTp— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) September 11, 2023
As the President faces mounting global challenges and domestic skepticism, the scrutiny of his age and abilities remains a defining element of his presidency. In the end, his recent press conference served up a cocktail of humor, bewilderment, and age-related concerns. It's a reminder that the "Sleepy Joe" narrative isn't going to take a nap anytime soon, no matter how many time zones he crosses or punchlines he delivers on the global stage.