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Monday, July 15, 2024

European leaders ‘stunned’ by Biden’s accelerated aging – WaPo

Multiple leaders have concluded that Joe Biden “can’t win” in November, sources told the newspaper

US President Joe Biden has been displaying worrying signs of “accelerated aging” in recent months and these changes shocked European leaders who met him at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy last month, the Washington Post reported on Friday. The outlet cited 21 people who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Longstanding concerns over Biden’s health came into focus following what was widely perceived as a disastrous performance in his first debate with Republican rival Donald Trump last week. While the Biden camp claimed the president had caught a cold, his performance reportedly panicked Democratic officials and donors, with some even suggesting he needed to be replaced as the party’s candidate for the November election.

According to the Post, numerous aides, foreign officials, donors and members of Congress say the president has “slowed considerably.” They pointed to how he moves more slowly, speaks more softly and loses his train of thought more often.

During the G7 summit in Italy last month, “several” European leaders “came away stunned” by how much older Biden seemed since their last interactions with him, according to officials that spoke to the outlet. In some cases, they said it had been mere months since those people had previously seen the US leader.

Read more: Biden says he is proud to be a ‘black woman’

“People were worried about it,” one said. Another reported that leaders had come to the conclusion that Biden “cannot win in November.”

Some officials admitted that, while they had brushed off concerns over Biden’s health before the debate with Trump, they are now questioning his abilities.

Concerns were also raised after a recent immigration event in the White House, according to the report. Some pointed out Biden’s obvious frailty, with one describing his performance that day as “terrifying.”

Read more: Biden wants ‘more sleep’ and ‘less work’ – NYT

The Post said its sources “largely” did not question Biden’s mental acuity, with several White House officials insisting that he continues to be fully cognizant on complicated policy matters and can easily recall facts from previous meetings.

However, staffers said that most of Biden’s high-priority meetings and events were scheduled for midday, when he is at his best.

Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told the Post that even if he won, European leaders don’t expect Biden to be able to run the country for another term. “It’s very, very rare in a democracy that the person you run for an election is someone that you all know can’t lead the country for four more years,” Bremmer said.

A CBS News-YouGov poll following the face-off with Trump found 72% of respondents said they believe Biden does not have the mental and cognitive health to serve as president, while 49% said the same about Trump.