During a Saturday campaign event in Bristol, Pennsylvania, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was captured wandering behind his wife, Jill, as she gave a speech to supporters. The clip was uploaded to President Donald Trump’s YouTube account and provided fodder for the president’s backers to question the former vice president’s fitness for the presidency.
“This guy acts just like a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient,” one user wrote.
“The way she ignores the fact that he is acting weird,” another said.
“That’s exactly what I do when I’m not sure what my wife wants me to do next so I just kinda wonder about aimlessly,” another joked.
During the video, Biden’s wife riles up supporters and asks them if they will support her husband and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, in the forthcoming election.
It’s not the first time Biden has appeared to wander aimlessly during a live event. As reported by The New York Post, his first virtual town hall in March was plagued by mistakes and glitches. At one point, the Democrat wandered off-camera as viewers watched from home. Although the event was intended to allow Democratic voters to engage with the party’s nominee, the publication noted that it ran for just “four buggy minutes.”
“I’m sorry this is such a disjointed effort here,” Biden apologized at the end of the stream.
The push to cast Biden as suffering from cognitive decline or suffering from senility was a strong focus of Trump’s campaign. However, as noted by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine, the strategy appears to have disappeared after the debates.
“It didn’t happen. Biden gave perfectly cogent responses to every question put to him, controlled his stammer, and displayed a far stronger command of facts and figures than his opponent.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson notably claimed that Biden appeared like a stable alternative to Trump at the first debate and suggested that the president’s strategy to paint him as mentally unfit might have backfired.
Before the debate, Mike McCormick, a former White House stenographer who worked with Biden from 2011 to 2017, claimed that the presidential candidate had lost a step. He compared Biden’s performance on the campaign trail to his cognitive state in 2017 and suggested there was a significant decline in his mental acuity compared to four years ago. But McCormick also noted that Biden has always had a tendency to ramble, which landed him in an awkward situation when then-Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, cut his microphone during a press conference.