In surprise remarks delivered from the White House on Thursday evening, President Joe Biden scolded special counsel Robert Hur for suggesting in his report on the handling of classified documents that the president had forgotten when his son Beau died.
“There’s even reference that I don’t remember when my son died. How in the hell dare he raise that?” Biden said of the report released hours earlier.
“I don’t need anyone to remind me of when he passed away,” he said.
The special counsel’s report, which did not recommend charges against Biden, included some damning commentary on the president’s mental acuity ― a major talking point for Republicans eager to knock him out of office in November.
“He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” Hur’s report said as part of a larger passage on Biden’s allegedly failing memory.
“He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 ― when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’),” the report noted.
But on Thursday, Biden focused on the remark about his son, who died of brain cancer in 2015, and recalled investigators asking him about Beau Biden’s death.
“Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business,” Biden said.
Following his speech, reporters pressed Biden about his overall memory.
“How bad is your memory? Can you continue as president?” one asked, to which Biden replied sarcastically, “My memory is so bad I let you speak. ... None of you thought I could pass any of the things I got passed. How’d that happen? No, I guess I just forgot what was going on.”
But in one notable moment while answering questions, Biden mistakenly referred to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi as the president of Mexico.