Biden Makes Unexpected Walter Reed Visit Amid Mental Fitness Criticism

President Biden Delivers Remarks To The South Carolina Democratic Party

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President Joe Biden said he was making a previously unannounced visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while speaking to reporters on the White House lawn Wednesday (February 28) morning amid criticism and concern over his mental fitness.

“I’m going to Walter Reed to get my physical” Biden, 81, said via the New York Post.

The visit comes amid both scrutiny and concern over Biden's mental fitness. Earlier this month, the president forcefully defended himself against allegations of memory loss stemming from special counsel Robert Hur's report on his handling of classified information while speaking to reporters from the White House Thursday (February 8) night.

Hur described Biden's memory as being "significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023," specifically claiming that the president did not remember when his son, Beau, died of brain cancer.

"How in the hell dare he raise that?" Biden said via NBC News, adding that he thought it "wasn't any of their damn business" when asked about Beau's 2015 death during the probe.

"I don’t need anyone to remind me when he passed away," Biden said Thursday night, acknowledging that he wears rosary beads and honors his late son during a service every Memorial Day. The president has also commonly referenced his late son in prior speeches, specifically in relation to loss and grief.

"My memory’s fine," Biden added in response to a reporter.

The hosts of the podcast 'Pod Save America,' who worked directly with then-Vice President Biden in the Obama administration, also acknowledged fears of the current president's age have become "a very real issue," pointing out how Biden has appeared to be more "frail" and "mumbly" during recent public appearances.

“If you watch Joe Biden speak, oftentimes he sounds frail and he sounds more frail than he used to, even in 2019 and 2020,” said Jon Favreau, the chief speechwriter for Obama when Biden served as vice president, during the podcast's latest episode.

“The voice sounds frail, and he shuffles more because of the arthritis in his back,” he added, pointing out that Biden also appears "mumbly."

Favreau acknowledged recent polls in which 80% of Americans expressed concern about Biden the oldest president in American history, continuing the job for another four-year term.

“When world events seem like they are overtaking him and he’s not out there enough forcefully, that’s what’s getting people concerned,” Favreau said.

'Pod Save America' co-host Jon Lovett, who also worked as a speechwriter during the Obama administration, agreed with Favreau's analysis and said Biden campaign officials should get the president out in public to demonstrate his mental and physical abilities more, even if it could result in more slip-ups.

“I’m sure that going out there means more missteps … more gaffes that start circulating, but if you don’t view Biden being out there as a net positive, then the argument he shouldn’t be running is right," Lovett said.

'Pod Save America' co-host and former Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer had previously expressed similar concerns, calling Biden's public gaffes "a very real issue" in a separate interview with Courier.

“If Biden can’t assuage, particularly among his voters from 2020, then I don’t think he can win the election — so in some ways, it’s the crux for his campaign," Pfeiffer said.

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