There’s something endearing about a grandpa muttering to himself while having a little trouble completing a simple task. When that man is president of the United States, however, it’s frightening.
President Joe Biden was caught on camera experiencing a concerning amount of difficulty putting a pen into the inside pocket of his suit jacket while a room full of reporters looked on, Breitbart reported on Wednesday. They were gathered at the White House Tuesday as the president signed executive orders crafted to fight systemic racism.
Joe Biden struggles to put his pen in his pocket pic.twitter.com/tBHIUAdZxe
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) January 26, 2021
Biden had just returned to his seat after speaking and was trying to pocket his own pen so he could use the ceremonial pens to sign the orders. He made several futile attempts to stow the writing instrument before finally unbuttoning his jacket to look down and see what the issue was.
“Excuse me. Trying to put my pen away here,” he muttered and gave a little embarrassed laugh to the awkwardly silent room. The 78-year-old president seemed confused as he prodded the pocket, which was perhaps still stitched closed.
While he was still fiddling with the task, a voice that sounded like Vice President Kamala Harris asked, “What do you need?” Biden finally gave up altogether and stuffed his pen into his side pocket in defeat.
Many people experience those moments when everyone is watching and things just aren’t going right. However, it was the way he handled it that is worrisome. Rather than giving the sense that he commanded the room as the competent leader of the Free World, watching Biden was like witnessing a sweet old relative trying to hide his embarrassment in failing at a simple task.
It wasn’t like he was doing this while filling out a birthday card for an eager grandchild. Biden was there to sign executive orders that addressed equity in housing and healthcare by demanding government agencies search for behavior patterns to root out racism. Although the goal is noble and laudable, leaping to the conclusion that disparities in the way things are handled point to racism as a cause — to the exclusion of other explanations — is troubling.
Biden is clearly getting on in years, and it is reasonable to expect a decline in cognitive functioning and physical dexterity. These aren’t character flaws or something to be ashamed of, but rather a natural part of the aging process. The only thing that makes it relevant is that this man has the nuclear weapon launch codes and the authority to use them.