President Joe Biden spoke just before 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, February 8, to address concerns about his memory raised in special counsel Robet Hur’s report exonerating him of any criminal mishandling of classified documents. Hur recommended no charges and suggested that the president hadn’t broken any laws, but he also implied that Biden’s memory was failing him. The special counsel cited multiple examples in the report of how the president was unable to recall the year of his son’s death or when he had served as vice president.
Between the report and the president’s live remarks, the White House published a letter to Hur, saying that the administration did not believe the report’s treatment of Biden’s memory is “accurate or appropriate.” Rather, the letter argued that “there is ample evidence from your interview that the President did well in answering your questions about years-old events over the course of five hours,” adding Biden was also engaged in dealing with the Hamas attacks in Israel as further explanation for any faults in his performance.
In his live remarks, the president used the same reasoning: He sat for five hours over two days while also dealing with an international crisis. And he took issue with the special counsel accusing him of forgetting the exact year of Beau Biden’s death.
The president kept his comments brief – stopping to take several questions from reporters after only about ten minutes – and reiterated that his memory was just fine and that he had not broken the law.
When asked about the situation in Israel, he asserted that Israel’s response has been “over the top,” and then seemed to get a bit geographically confused, referring to a conversation with Mexican President Sisi about opening the border to allow humanitarian aid through. Presumably, he meant Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. It was his last question before leaving the stage. The whole event took less than 15 minutes.