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‘My Memory Is Fine,’ a Defiant Biden Declares After Special Counsel Report

U.S.‘My Memory Is Fine,’ a Defiant Biden Declares After Special Counsel Report

President Biden angrily hit back against a special counsel’s report on his handling of classified documents on Thursday, denying that he willfully retained papers that he was not entitled to keep and insisting that “my memory is fine” despite questions raised by the prosecutors.

In a hurriedly arranged nighttime televised appearance at the White House, a defiant Mr. Biden offered a feisty defense of his actions and his capacity to run the country, an effort to quell concerns that could hurt his chances for re-election at a time when polls show most voters already think he is too old. The report called him a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” a line that clearly got under the president’s skin.

“I’m well meaning, and I’m an elderly man, and I know what the hell I’m doing,” Mr. Biden told a Fox News reporter who asked him about the report after his statement. “My memory is so bad I let you speak.”

Mr. Biden was especially irked that the special counsel indicated that the president could not remember the year his elder son, Beau, died of cancer, a particularly sensitive subject for him. “How in the hell dare he raise that?” Mr. Biden said, sounding emotional.

But even as he sought to dispel suggestions that he might not be up for the job, he confused the presidents of Mexico and Egypt in response to a question about negotiations to release hostages held by Hamas, making exactly the kind of mistake that his staff presumably hoped he would avoid at a time when his mental acuity is being questioned.

“I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza, in the Gaza Strip, has been over the top,” Mr. Biden said. “I think that as you know, initially, the president of Mexico, el-Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in.” He evidently was referring to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, not Mexico.

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