White House officers and Democrats fanned out to defend President Biden’s psychological health on Sunday, reflecting the rising anxiousness within the president’s administration over a particular counsel report that fueled concern about his age.
“This is a report that went off the rails,” Bob Bauer, Mr. Biden’s private lawyer, mentioned on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “A shabby work product.”
The report, launched on Thursday, cleared Mr. Biden of felony wrongdoing in his dealing with of categorized paperwork after leaving the vice presidency. But the particular counsel within the case, Robert Okay. Hur, characterised Mr. Biden, 81, as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” who had “diminished faculties in advancing age.”
Democrats have gone on the offensive to discredit what they are saying is a partisan hit that probably violated Justice Department coverage, particularly taking challenge with the descriptions questioning Mr. Biden’s reminiscence.
Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Mr. Biden’s homeland safety secretary, mentioned on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “the responsibility of a federal prosecutor is to investigate and learn the facts and apply the law to those facts.”
“The special counsel did this in the case, made a conclusion that there is no case — case closed — then made gratuitous, unnecessary and inaccurate personal remarks, and those are improper,” Mr. Mayorkas mentioned.
While the report discovered that “no criminal charges are warranted” towards Mr. Biden, the descriptions about his reminiscence put a highlight on what was already a major concern for voters: his age. In New York Times/Siena College polling within the fall, greater than 70 p.c of battleground state voters agreed with the assertion that Mr. Biden was “just too old to be an effective president.”
“We have to face the reality of the fact that when you get to those ages, you get diminished,” Nikki Haley, the previous South Carolina governor and Republican presidential candidate who has additionally attacked the psychological acuity of former president Donald J. Trump, mentioned on “Face the Nation.” “These are people making decisions on our national security. These are people making decisions on the future of our economy. We need to know they’re at the top of their game.”
Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, mentioned the content material of the report was not a shock.
“Look, there’s no new bombshells about President Biden in this,” he mentioned on “Fox News Sunday.” “The American people have seen for years that he is a man with a failing memory. What this report indicates though is that you have a blatant double standard: If Joe Biden is not going to face criminal charges, then Donald Trump shouldn’t be facing criminal charges either.”
Mr. Biden’s allies have additionally doubled down on a marketing campaign technique of framing the election as a selection between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump, whom they paint as a menace to democracy and who faces fees over his personal dealing with of categorized paperwork. Mr. Trump, 77, lately confused the leaders of Hungary and Turkey, warned that the nation was on the verge of World War II and claimed that he defeated Barack Obama as an alternative of Hillary Clinton within the 2016 election.
White House officers had been additionally fast to spotlight Mr. Trump’s remarks at a marketing campaign occasion on Saturday, when he mentioned that whereas he was president, he instructed leaders of NATO nations that he would “encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to nations that had not paid the cash they owed to the army alliance.
“What our nation should focus on is the way that Donald Trump is undermining rule of law, democracy and our safety as a nation,” Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, mentioned on ABC’s “This Week” when requested in regards to the particular counsel’s report.
But it was clear on Sunday that Mr. Biden’s aides and allies additionally felt a way of urgency to assault Mr. Hur’s report and persuade voters involved over Mr. Biden’s age.
“The actual issue is not going to go away,” Quentin James, a co-founder of the Collective PAC, a corporation that goals to elect Black officers, mentioned in an interview. “I think the only way to beat it is again to get out there on the road and campaign really hard. And that’s what we expect from any other candidate, regardless of your age or experience.”
Mitch Landrieu, the co-chair of Mr. Biden’s marketing campaign, mentioned on “Meet the Press” that Mr. Biden had already traveled throughout the nation all through his presidency to explain his home agenda.
“It is this ad hominem attack that questioned the president’s capacity,” Mr. Landrieu mentioned of Mr. Hur’s report. He added: “This guy is tough. He’s smart. He’s on his game.”
The White House has additionally made some extent of dispatching officers with prosecutorial backgrounds to assault the credibility of the report. A day after it was launched, Vice President Kamala Harris cited her time as a prosecutor as she described the report as “gratuitous” and “politically motivated.”
Erica L. Green and Karoun Demirjian contributed reporting.