After President Joe Biden said he would be holding a “major press conference” Friday afternoon, the White House informed reporters that the president misspoke.
No press conference was listed on the president’s schedule, and a White House spokesperson said he was referring to his interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, set to air Friday at 10 p.m. The interview is Biden’s first since announcing his reelection campaign, and the two are expected to discuss that topic among others.
Despite the White House’s correction, comments mocking the president’s mistake, which he made at a White House event, quickly spread across social media. Already the oldest president in the nation’s history, Biden, 80, would be 82 at the start of a second term and 86 when he leaves office. His age and mental abilities are among the chief concerns Americans have about his running for another term.
Newsweek reached out to the White House by email for comment.
Some were quick to comment on Biden’s mental state on Friday after the press conference incident.
“President Biden has not held a solo press conference this year. He just told reporters he will hold a ‘major press conference’ this afternoon,” Fox News correspondent Lucas Tomlinson tweeted Friday afternoon.
Tomlinson followed up with another tweet, adding that the White House told reporters that the president “misspoke.”
Tomlinson’s tweet was quick to provoke responses criticizing the president.
The Reaction on Twitter
“In case anyone was wondering who was in charge at the White House, it’s pretty clearly not the President,” one person tweeted.
“Shouldn’t he know the difference between a press conference and an interview? Apparently his handlers did not tell him,” another said.
Others cracked jokes about how the information was not written down in Biden’s notes, a reference to a cheat sheet that was seen in his hands last month. The cheat sheet detailed questions that members of the media planned to ask him.
Changing Views on Biden’s Health, Mental State
In the past few years, Americans have grown more concerned about Biden’s ability to serve as president, particularly because of his health. In 2021, a Politico poll revealed that 50 percent of American voters disagreed with a statement that Biden was “in good health.” Forty percent of voters said they thought the president was in good health.
Politico contrasted that 10-point gap with Morning Consult polling in October 2020, which found that voters believed Biden was in good health by a 19-point margin.
The 2021 poll showed that voters were evenly split on whether Biden’s mental abilities remained sharp, with 46 percent saying he was mentally fit and 48 percent disagreeing.
The numbers have changed since then. In February, a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll found that 57 percent of registered voters doubted the president was mentally fit. The New York Post reported that the responses were largely split along party lines, with 75 percent of Democrats having faith in Biden’s mental abilities and 85 percent of Republicans believing the president is mentally unfit.