Biden may be old and aging, but Trump is worse - GulfToday

Biden may be old and aging, but Trump is worse

Michael Jansen

The author, a well-respected observer of Middle East affairs, has three books on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

The 2024 US presidential campaign is a repeat of the 2020 contest, involving two aging politicians whose mental capacities have declined in the past four years. At 81, incumbent, frail Joe Biden has lapses of memory and, on occasion, exhibits confusion. He strides as though he walks on eggs and has, on occasion, forgotten where he was when on stage. His latest faux pas was to confuse Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi with his Mexican counterpart Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Despite these mental lapses, Biden was furious last week when his fitness for office was challenged.

His mental capacities came under scrutiny when in a 345-page document Special Council Robert Hur described how Biden had insecurely stored illegally held classified government documents at an office Biden had rented in Washington and in the garage at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. This probe was modelled on the investigation of Biden’s second-time rival Donald Trump who exited the White House with scores of official documents, many of them classified and top secret and not to be shared with foreign representatives.

Biden was given the Afghan file while Vice President in the Obama administration. When leaving office, he purloined his notebooks and documents on US military participation in the war against the Taliban. He wanted to show the ghost writer of his memoir that he pushed for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan well before he became president in 2021 when he did the deed and made a mess. Hur ruled that Biden should not be prosecuted as, once the material was located, he willingly cooperated with the team of investigators and there was no proof that Biden had shared the classified documents with outsiders.

A case against Biden would be difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt, Hur said, adding that a jury would find difficulties in convicting “an elderly man with a poor memory.” This remark infuriated Biden who is struggling to overcome the handicap of old age in the presidential race.

Biden has only himself to blame. During his half-century career in politics, Biden has gained a reputation for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he did not “have a soul” and in 2017 called Putin a “killer” and accused him of meddling in US elections. Biden has also confused Iraq which was invaded by ex-President George Bush and Ukraine which was invaded by Putin. Biden has the irritating habit of repeating the last phrases of sentences, a practice often adopted by elderly folk.

Finally, since he has been in the US Senate, the vice presidency and presidency, Biden claims superior knowledge and has become extremely stubborn once he has adopted a certain line of thinking or decides on a way to tackle a problem — whether right or wrong. His unshaken-able commitment to Zionism is a case in point. It has taken Biden four months to say Israel has prosecuted the Gaza war badly: “over the top.” During this time, Biden had fuelled the war with billions of dollars of military aid and political protection rather than sanctioning Israel for excesses. Biden has never called for a permanent ceasefire, only for humanitarian pauses and for Israel to devise a strategy for carrying on with the war which does not kill thousands of Palestinians and makes Gaza “uninhabitable” — the term already used by the UN and relief agencies.

Biden’s lack of humanity and decency has been exposed because he has not responded with suspension of arms deliveries and financial aid to the devastation of most of Gaza, the deaths of 28,000, 70 per cent women and children, the wounding of 70,000 and disappearance of thousands under the rubble of their homes.

Ex-President Donald Trump, at 77, is much more robust and charismatic than Biden. However, mental health professionals have alleged that Trump is a psychotic narcissist. “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” a book of essays by 27 psychiatrists and psychologists edited by Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist, describes Trump’s mental health as a threat to the nation and citizens.

This could explain why he has refused to accept his loss of the presidency to Biden in 2020. Trump has also confused people, including Biden and ex-President Barack Obama. Trump named former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the official responsible for security at the Capitol, misidentified his former UN ambassador, and claimed Hungarian Prime Minister Victor was the president of Turkey. He has made multiple incoherent remarks. Trump bragged about his positive results of a simple cognitive test for dementia or Alzheimer’s he took in 2018 but claimed he had taken it in 2021. He said, “I got a perfect mark” and called himself a “very stable genius.” While in office, however, he was reported to have shredded documents and flushed them down a toilet and to have thrown a plate full of food at a wall when he was crossed.

During his first months in the presidency he was surrounded by men dubbed the “adults in the room” who managed to curb his most threatening tendencies. If re-elected it is feared he could appoint an entourage of men who cannot control him.

Biden’s classified documents case was far less serious than that of Trump who not only took a large number of documents when he left the White House but also insisted that this was his right as president and refused to hand them over until compelled to do so. A special counsel investigation of Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents has resulted in 40 federal criminal counts for intentional retention of defence documents and obstruction of justice. Trump has also lost his appeal against a case denying him of immunity from prosecution and faces dozens of court cases on tax evasion, fraud, sexual abuse, and defamation, and trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state of Georgia, to identify a few.

Despite Trump’s mental state a Wall Street Journal poll released last fall found 73 per cent of respondents said Biden was “too old to run for president” as compared to 47 per cent who believed Trump was too old.


Related articles