From ‘Elder Abuse’ to ‘Unfit For Office’: Joe Biden Mocked for ‘Air Handshake’
08:48 GMT 15.04.2022 (Updated: 09:37 GMT 15.04.2022)
Joe Biden, 79, the oldest-ever man elected president of the United States, has repeatedly raised eyebrows with his gaffes and memory “lapses”, more than once mistakenly calling Vice President Kamala Harris “president”, and recently confusing "Iranian" and "Ukrainian" in his State of the Union speech.
President Joe Biden appeared to shake hands with “thin air” following an address at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, according to footage of the event.
Throughout his 40-minute long speech on 14 April, Biden had struggled to defend his handling of the US economy. He touted efforts to bolster supply chains, accelerate production of semiconductors and ease dependence on foreign makers. The trip to North Carolina was part of a campaign to pressure Congress to approve the Bipartisan Innovation Act, seeking to boost funding for domestic production of semiconductors.
Biden had also blamed, in part, the developments in Ukraine for the 40-year high inflation rate of 8.5 percent, coming against the backdrop of soaring gas prices.
When Biden finished his discourse, he turned right on the stage, where he was all alone, seemingly saying something into thin air and miming a handshake.
12 April 2022, 17:35 GMT
The strange behavior from Biden – just one bizarre episode from a succession of gaffes by the POTUS in recent years – instantly triggered a firestorm online.
Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted an eye roll emoji alongside footage from the event, yet again pointing to the possible cognitive deterioration of the Democrat president.
Like in similar “memory lapses”, when the American commander-in-chief confused Libya and Syria, referred to the “Iranian" people while meaning to say "Ukrainian" and mistakenly called Vice President Kamala Harris "president", people questioned the president's "mental sharpness". Some expressed growing unease over whether he is fit to lead the nation.
Still others branded Joe Biden's actions at the end of the speech in North Carolina “elder abuse”.
“Where are the White House and Biden family handlers whose job it is to make him look good?” tweeted Harmeet K. Dhillon, former vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party. She also wondered if, perhaps, there was a deliberate intention to have Biden “look like a dementia patient”.
GOP politician Robby Starbuck, running in the Republican primary for US House Tennessee District 5 on 4 August 2022, noted that the music accompanying the odd exit of the 79-year old President off the stage “made it 10x worse. This man is unfit to be President. Period”.
2 March 2022, 03:21 GMT
The US president, who even referred to himself in 2018 as a "gaffe machine", has been increasingly confusing words, alongside bizarre fumbling with occasional losses of temper. Biden, who has had a couple of hot mic moments this year – in one of which he called a Fox News reporter’s question “stupid”, appears to be displaying “deterioration” beyond the typical “wear and tear” of advancing age, claim many GOP critics.
However, Democrats, who broadly speculated about former President Donald Trump supposedly being psychiatrically ill during his term, show no eagerness to explore the issue.
A physical exam in November 2021, conducted by White House physician Kevin O’Connor, reported calling in neurologists and orthopedists to evaluate the president’s failing gait – attributed to general age – while Biden was diagnosed as “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency”.