Allies of Joe Biden have said attacks on the president’s age are a “bucket of BS” after a report called his mental capacity into question.
Last week, the president was hit by fresh attacks on his fitness for the Oval Office when special counsel Robert Hur’s ruling on his handling of classified documents said he had a “significantly limited”, “poor” and “hazy” memory.
While justice department official Mr Hur chose not to bring criminal charges against Mr Biden, his comments prompted the 81-year-old to hold a terse news conference defending himself.
Speaking to NBC News, Sky News’ US partner network, senior advisor to the president Mitch Landrieu hit out at claims that Mr Biden was “not ready for this job” and called attacks on his age “just a bucket of BS” and “below the belt”.
He added: “I’ve been knowing him for 30 years. I have met with him personally. I’ve met with him with two people, five people, 10 people.
“I have been on trips with him, crisscrossing the country, rebuilding America based on this incredible infrastructure bill that was passed. And I’m telling you, this guy is tough. He’s smart. He’s on his game.”
When asked about polls suggesting Democrat voters want to see a change in candidate going into the next election, Mr Landrieu said: “The one thing that Joe Biden is never going to do, and count on this, he is never ever going to quit.”
Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also told NBC: “The most difficult part about a meeting with President Biden is preparing for it because he is sharp, intensely probing and detail-oriented and focused.”
The 400-page report had claimed Mr Biden could not remember in interviews when he was vice president or when his son, Beau, had died.
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The White House held a news conference defending the president against “gratuitous remarks” about his memory, and vice president Kamala Harris said on Friday that the report “could not be more wrong on the facts and [is] clearly politically motivated”.
The comments come following a string of gaffes in recent days by Mr Biden, including during his latest news conference about the report where he confused the presidents of Egypt and Mexico.
On Monday last week, he referred to French President Emmanuel Macron as Francois Mitterrand, who died in 1996, and on Tuesday appeared to forget the name Hamas while discussing the war in Gaza.
Mr Biden also mixed up former German chancellor Angela Merkel with one of her predecessors Helmut Kohl on Wednesday.
A White House spokesperson later said: “Many people, elected officials… they can misspeak sometimes.”