Biden struggles to recall name of DoD chief: ‘The guy who runs that outfit over there’

President Joe Biden struggled to recall the name of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as well as the name of the Pentagon during a briefing to the media on Monday in which he announced the promotions of two female generals to four-star commands.

In a pair of announcements, the Defense Department said that Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson are slated to take over the commands if they are approved by the Senate.

Van Ovost is slated to head the Transportation Command, which is responsible for the U.S. military’s worldwide transport needs, while Richardson, who is currently leading U.S. Army North at Joint Base San Antonio, to lead the U.S. Southern Command, which is responsible for all of Latin America.

At present, Ovost is the only female four-star in the military; her current duty assignment is commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base.

But in discussing the promotions with the press on Monday, Biden stumbled to recall Austin’s name as well as that of the Pentagon.

“I want to thank you both and I wanna thank the secre… the, uh, the uh, former general, I keep calling him general, but my, uh…the guy who runs that outfit over there,” Biden said.

“I wanna make sure we thank the secretary for all he’s done to try to implement what we just talked about,” the president continued, “and for recommending these two women for promotion. Thank you all, may God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.”

Observers have said for months, beginning during Biden’s campaign last year, that his mental capacity since leaving the vice presidency in 2017 appears to have diminished significantly.

A year ago, after Biden exploded at an autoworker in Detroit, Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume said during an interview with host Tucker Carlson that he believed Biden’s mental acuity was failing.

“I’ve known him a long time, and he can sometimes work himself up into kind of a passion in speeches and so on when he was arguing about issues and so on in a debate,” Hume said then.

“But I don’t remember him exploding at voters like he did in this incident today, and hurling profanity the way he did, telling the guy he was ‘full of spit,’ except he didn’t say ‘spit’. That’s something new,” Hume added.

Others have made similar observations. 

“It is a complete difference from what he was in 2017,” Mike McCormick, who spent 15 years as a White House stenographer, said earlier last fall. “He’s lost a step and he doesn’t seem to have the same mental acuity as he did four years ago.”

In August, conservative author and podcaster Dan Bongino said sources near Biden were saying similar things about his mental state.

“Not a joke and not hyperbole – I’m hearing from people close to the situation that Biden’s cognitive decline is rapidly worsening and is becoming increasingly difficult to mask. The Democrats are going to have to make a decision soon,” he tweeted.

Former White House physician Ronny Jackson, now a Republican representative from Texas, worked for three presidents including Barack Obama. In an interview last fall with Fox News, he said, “As a citizen of this country, I’ve watched Joe Biden on the campaign trail and I am concerned and convinced that he does not have the mental capacity, the cognitive ability, to serve as our commander-in-chief and our head of state.”

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Jon Dougherty

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