Biden Responds to Special Counsel Report: 'How Dare He?'

The president gives an emotional press conference
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2024 12:00 AM CST
An Emotional Biden Responds to Special Counsel Report
President Biden speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden addressed the special counsel report on his handling of classified documents, aggressively pushing back on the comments regarding his memory. Referring to the suggestion in the report that Biden didn't remember the year his son died, the president said at a hastily put together news conference Thursday night, "How in the hell dare he raise that?" A clearly emotional Biden said he thinks about his son every day, the Washington Post reports. "Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn't any of their damn business," he continued. "I don't need anyone to remind me of when he passed away." He called the special counsel's comments about his memory "extraneous commentary" that "had no place in this report," per the AP. Reporters were given just 20 minutes notice before the press conference.

Biden insisted, "My memory is fine," adding sarcastically, "Take a look at what I've done since I became president … how did that happen? I guess I just forgot what was going on." At another point, per the New York Times, he replied to a Fox News reporter with: "I'm well meaning, and I'm an elderly man, and I know what the hell I'm doing. My memory is so bad I let you speak." At another point, though, he did give critics some fodder when he appeared to mix up world leaders for the third time this week, the Hill reports. Discussing the situation in Gaza, he said, "I think as you know initially, the president of Mexico, El-Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to humanitarian material to get in. I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate." Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is the president of Egypt, not Mexico, and Republicans were quick to jump on the clip as an indication of Biden's mental acuity.

As for an explanation of any mistakes made in the handling of classified documents following his time as vice president for Barack Obama, Biden pointed to his staff, saying staffers were the ones who put documents in his garage. "I take responsibility for not having seen exactly what my staff was doing," he said. "Things that appeared in my garage, things that came out of my home, things that were moved—were moved not by me but by my staff. By my staff." He also pushed back on the allegation that he shared classified information with his ghostwriter, saying he shared a memo on Afghanistan he'd written that should only have been considered private. (For more reading, see reactions from both sides of the aisle to the report, or read about how Biden's ghostwriter ended up in the middle of all this.)

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