Only days after vacationing at the beach, President Joe Biden called a lid on a NATO dinner Tuesday, with his aides citing his ostensibly busy schedule.
As other world leaders gathered together for dinner Tuesday night in Lithuania, the location of the latest NATO summit, the president instead returned to his hotel room while Secretary of State Antony Blinken took his place.
Asked by reporters why he skipped the dinner, an unnamed official “said the president has had four full days of official business and is preparing for a big speech tomorrow in addition to another day at the summit,” as reported by Beth Rigby of Sky News.
Critics were stunned by the “snub” given as it was only days ago that a bare-chested Biden was spotted hitting the beach in swim trunks and living the easy life while vacationing in Rehoboth Beach, Deleware:
— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) July 11, 2023
Old Yeller can’t think and chew at the same time.
— @14KGOP (@14KGOP) July 11, 2023
Such a busy man. Laid on the beach, napped on Air Force one, worked 2 days, now it’s time for another break? I don’t get that luxury.
— Constitution (@FollowaBrotha) July 11, 2023
In fairness to the president, he spent Tuesday attending the first day of the NATO meeting, in addition to meeting “with the presidents of Lithuania and Turkey” and “the secretary general of NATO,” according to the New York Post.
“On Wednesday, he is due to meet with [Ukrainian President] Zelensky after attending the second day of the summit, before making remarks at Vilnius University and traveling on to Helsinki,” the Post notes.
On Monday meanwhile, the president raised eyebrows in regard to his fitness when he was seen on camera steadying himself on King Charles III.
“Video of the encounter shows Biden placing his hand on the 74-year-old Charles’s right arm while the two shook hands, causing the king to glance down in apparent surprise,” according to the Post.
“Biden then put his hand on Charles’ back as they walked toward a stage to conduct a troop review. The president’s gait was noticeably stiff, something his physician noted in a February report had worsened since he broke his foot in late 2020,” the Post notes.
The “snub,” as some are calling it, reportedly marks the third time that the president has skipped a dinner with world leaders while on an international trip.
“[A]fter fatiguing days on the road, he skipped dinner with world leaders in Indonesia last year and again in Japan in May,” The New York Times reported last month in a profile about “the complicated reality of being America’s oldest president.”
This is the 3rd time Biden has skipped a dinner with world leaders on an international trip.
From the NYT last month:
“Still, after fatiguing days on the road, he skipped dinner with world leaders in Indonesia last year and again in Japan in May.”https://t.co/HMq0iZp8gd https://t.co/0laR39XGwg pic.twitter.com/RWlfbKnlWn
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) July 11, 2023
“[F]ew people fail to notice the changes in one of the nation’s most public people. As vice president a dozen years ago, Mr. Biden engaged in energetic squirt gun battles each summer with the children of aides and reporters,” the Times piece reads.
“More than a decade later, he shuffled stiffly across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., to mark the anniversary of Bloody Sunday,” it continues.
Not only have the president’s political enemies noted his behavior but so have members of his own party.
“Unease about Mr. Biden’s age suffuses Democratic circles. One prominent Wall Street Democrat, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid offending the White House, noted that among party donors it was all anyone was talking about,” according to the Times.
“At a small dinner earlier this year of former Democratic senators and governors, all of them in Mr. Biden’s generation, everyone at the table agreed he was too old to run again. Local leaders often call the White House to inquire about his health,” the Times reported early last month.
Speaking privately with the Times, some unnamed officials admitted that they have had to make accommodations to the president’s usual schedule to deal with his age.
“His staff schedules most of his public appearances between noon and 4 p.m. and leaves him alone on weekends as much as possible,” the Times notes.
Of course, his most die-hard fans still see nothing wrong.
“I think the reason this is an issue is primarily because of the media talking about it constantly,” former Sen. Ted Kaufman, reportedly a longtime adviser to Biden, said.
“I do not see anything in my dealings with him that age is a problem. He’s done more than any president has been able to do in my lifetime,” he claimed.
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