Donald Trump’s smear campaign against Joe Biden has backfired. For months, the president and his surrogates in the Republican media sphere have exploited the former vice president’s lifelong struggle with stuttering to push a narrative claiming that “Sleepy Joe” is in some advanced state of cognitive decline, with some particularly unscrupulous mouthpieces going so far as to claim—without evidence or truth—that the former vice president suffers from dementia.
The problem for the GOP is that their disgraceful disinformation campaign primed voters for a doddering old man, an addled version of Biden that simply doesn’t exist. So when Biden delivered his incredibly rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention last week the Republicans’ entire strategy imploded in an instant.
The world tuned in to hear Biden speak and saw a man not only in far better command of his rhetoric than Trump, they saw a Democratic nominee brimming with empathy, offering an inspiring vision for the future of the country in stark contrast to the authoritarian nightmare we’ve been living in for these past four years.
Trump himself isn’t handling the disintegration of his anti-Biden attacks well. Right-wing online publication The Washington Examiner reports that in an Oval Office interview today the president absurdly suggested that Biden is taking some kind of miracle drugs to improve his cognition.
“Nobody thought that he was even going to win. Because his debate performances were so bad. Frankly, his best performance was against Bernie,” said Trump. “We’re going to call for a drug test, by the way, because his best performance was against Bernie. It wasn’t that he was Winston Churchill because he wasn’t, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened. And we are going to call for a drug test because there’s no way — you can’t do that.”
When pressed to explain what he believed was “going on,” Trump plunged right into deranged conspiracy theorizing.
“I don’t know how he could have been so incompetent in his debate performances and then all of a sudden be OK against Bernie,” Trump said, misrepresenting Biden’s debate performance. “My point is, if you go back and watch some of those numerous debates, he was so bad. He wasn’t even coherent. And against Bernie, he was. And we’re calling for a drug test.”
Trump went on to claim that Biden was “close to incompetent, if not incompetent” during the primary debates, a particularly rich insult coming from a man who can barely string together a coherent thought together without getting sidetracked.
“Go back and watch his performances in some of those debates. He didn’t know where he was. And all of a sudden, he was not good, he was normal, and I don’t understand how. I don’t know if there is or not, but somebody said to me, ‘He must be on drugs.’ I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’m asking for a drug test. Both candidates. Me, too. I take an aspirin a day,” added Trump, who himself has been accused in the past of having an abusive relationship with Adderall.
The president’s strategy here is as transparent as it is pathetic. Unwilling to admit that Biden is mentally fit for office (far more so than Trump himself), he’s conjuring up an outlandish theory that allows him to keep insisting Biden has mental problems even as Biden proves over and over again that he does not. This call for a drug test is nothing more than desperate flailing and Biden is sure to trounce him when the debates finally arrive.
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