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Top Biden ally ‘getting a little tired of the relentless focus’ on Biden’s age, hits back at questions

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Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., recently expressed his annoyance with everyone pointing out President Biden’s old age.

In a new interview with Politico, the lawmaker – considered one of Biden’s top allies and most prominent foreign policy adviser – slammed people’s constant questions about Biden’s age and mental fitness for office. He also lamented how it seems to be a bigger issue for people than former President Trump’s threat to the United States, as he sees it.

“I get a little tired of the relentless focus on what are very minor slip-ups by President Biden,” told Politico’s Ryan Lizza for the outlet’s “Playbook Deep Dive” podcast this week.

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Sen. Coons at work

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., recently defended President Biden from attacks on his age and mental acuity.  (Nathan Posner/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Lizza brought up the topic by mentioning the Wall Street Journal’s recent report about Biden showing signs of decline behind closed doors. 

Coons first addressed the story by telling Lizza he was interviewed for it, though wasn’t quoted in the final piece. He followed up by criticizing its framing, telling the reporter, “I felt like it was a skewed and unbalanced story that tried to present the president as maybe publicly compelling and competent, but privately fading, and I just thought it was an unfair treatment and an inaccurate representation.”

Lizza pushed back somewhat: “I’ve known you a long time, and I feel like you’re generally very intellectually honest. The president is not a young man. Look, I know you’re the co-chair of his campaign, and you’re highly incentivized to say things that will help him get reelected. But clearly, there have been changes.”

Coons wondered if the journalist was accusing him of misrepresenting the facts, replying, “Well, look, if your implication is that what I just said was dishonest —”

Lizza cut him off, saying that’s not what he’s meant to do, just that he wants to push through “a lot of the bulls— in the way that everyone talks about this.”

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He continued pushing Coons on the issue, stating, “On the one hand, Biden is not mentally handicapped, as Trump would have it. But on the other hand, he’s also of advanced age. My parents are in their 80s. They’re not who they were 20 years ago.”

Coons responded in detail, first noting that Biden and Trump, for that matter, don’t seem to slip up any more than other politicians around their ages. “To be clear, I think the core question isn’t whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden occasionally mistakes, you know, who’s the current president of France or who’s the current speaker of the House,” he said, adding, “Frankly, I think a lot of us who serve in public office and do interviews all the time and travel regularly and have 14-hour days make similar slips.”

He then got candid about his feelings on being asked about Biden’s age and fitness for office.

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US President Joe Biden, left, and Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, right, during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, April 1, 2024.

US President Joe Biden, left, and Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, right, during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, April 1, 2024. (Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I get a little tired of the relentless focus on what are very minor slip-ups by President Biden that I see other elected officials of comparable age make regularly.”

He then pointed out his displeasure with the fact that Biden’s age is brought up more than Trump’s unique problems.

“The number of times I’ve been interviewed about the question, ‘Is Joe Biden the same man he was when he was 60?’ vastly outweighs the number of times I’ve been asked, ‘Are you scared about the future of our democracy, given what Donald Trump said today?’”

“And I just wish there were a little more balanced treatment of it,” Coons declared, though he did relent, admitting, “Of course, Joe Biden is over 80 years old, and like any human being over 80 years old, that means there’s a little diminished energy.”

Coons also slammed the WSJ article in a brief interview on Fox News Channel earlier this week, stating, “I think they got this wrong because they didn’t use quotes from those of us who serve with President Biden, who know him, who have had the opportunity up-close-and-personal in meetings in the White House or in events publicly or privately, to give affirmation that he is sharp, he is engaged, and he is commanding.”

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