During the Gridiron dinner, Biden says that of the two presidential candidates, one is mentally unfit: ‘The other is me’

(Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

During the Gridiron dinner, Biden says that of the two presidential candidates, one is mentally unfit: ‘The other is me’


March 16, 2024

The big news this week, President Biden said during a weekend in Washington, was that two candidates had secured their party’s nomination for president. But one was too old, too mentally unfit for the job, he said.

The other is me,” Bidden joked.

The pushback against Republican Donald Trump continued to come from the Democratic president at the annual Gridiron Club and Foundation Dinner, as Biden fended off persistent criticism that his memory is hazy and he appears confused, instead highlighting moments when the 77- year-old Trump made a mistake.

Don’t tell him, he thinks he’s running against Barack Obama, that’s what he said,” said the 81-year-old Biden, who also joked that he stayed up way past his bedtime.

It was the first time Biden has attended the dinner during his presidency, and it comes as the 2024 election looms and the Biden-Trump rematch heats up. The annual bacchanal, now in its 139th year, dates back to 1885, the year President Grover Cleveland declined to attend. Every president since has come to at least one Gridiron.

Biden quickly shifted to sober topics, though he highlighted what he sees as a real threat to democracy if Trump, who continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen, returns to the White House. The speech had echoes of Biden’s campaign comments, also criticizing his Republican rival for being too soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

We are living in an unprecedented moment in democracy, he said. An unprecedented moment in history. Democracy and freedom are literally under attack. Putin is on the march in Europe. My pastor bows to him and says to him: Do whatever you want.

Biden then introduced Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.

We don’t want to bow down. They will not bow, and I will not bow, he said.

Biden, dressed as usual in white tie, brought along his daughter Ashley.

The dinner has a reputation as an evening of bipartisan merriment and was packed with Washington politicians and who’s who, including Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, at least eight other Cabinet members, at least five members of Congress, five governors and at least five ambassadors. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who was in town for St. Patrick’s Day, was also in attendance.

Harris, the governor of Michigan, also spoke during the dinner. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, and the governor of Utah. Spencer Cox, a Republican.

Biden closed the dinner and also spoke about the importance of a free press. While he may not agree with everything the news media publishes, he understands the need for journalism and says he is still working to bring home journalists Evan Gershovich and Austin Tice, one held in Russia, the other another disappeared during a reporting trip. in Syria.

Good journalism holds a mirror up to society, he said. We need you.

Biden and Harris sat at the main table, along with other administration officials and the foreign leaders, plus Gridiron President Dan Balz of the Washington Post. Also at the table were Balz’s bosses, Post editor-in-chief Sally Buzbee, and the newspaper’s owner, Jeff Bezos.

Dinner took place at the Grand Hyatt. No photos or TV cameras were allowed.

Long writes for the Associated Press. AP writer Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this report.


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