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Democrats’ cover-up of Biden decline raises hard questions. When did they know the truth?


Who are the top choices to replace Biden if he decides not to run?
If President Joe Biden decides not to seek re-election, who are some of the top choices to replace him on the Democratic ticket?

In a brief speech on Monday night from the White House, President Joe Biden appeared once again to struggle to speak without a teleprompter. He spoke for only five minutes and refused to take questions from even friendly members of the press, spurring ongoing doubts about his health.

Biden’s disastrous June 27 debate performance opposite Donald Trump is front of mind for the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as American voters. As the fallout from the Biden-Trump debate continues, more questions than answers have surfaced.

Here are a few that the White House and Democrats need to answer about the health of our nation’s commander in chief:

It’s clear that Biden struggles to be coherent and cognizant, especially when he’s required to process and respond to questions spontaneously, as opposed to giving a speech with a teleprompter. During the debate, Biden trailed off repeatedly, murmuring and slurring his words. In a few cases, he was unable to articulate a complete thought. Pundits, politicians and the American public noticed, leading to multiple calls for the Democratic Party to reconsider Biden as their nominee.

This raises one of the most pertinent questions Democrats must answer: When did members of Biden’s inner circle know about the president’s steep decline?

It’s clear, based on his debate performance and other gaffes we’ve seen in public, that Biden’s decline must have been obvious to those closest to him.

It also explains why Biden rarely fields questions from reporters, or gives speeches without a teleprompter and is largely shielded from the public. The effort to shield Biden and to hide the truth from voters was intentional. Democratic leaders need to be honest about how long they have known Biden has been declining.

Now that it’s obvious how much Biden has been struggling, even Democrats are calling for Biden to be replaced as the party’s nominee. While it’s a bit shocking to see how quickly Democrats have turned on their own leader, their acknowledgement of the president’s problems raises other questions: If Democrats think Biden is unfit to be the nominee, how can he continue to be president? How will he function as the nation’s chief executive for another six months?

A day after the debate, I posted on X, “Just think: Foreign leaders who have met with Biden in the last year knew about his cognitive decline before you did. They knew and they snickered and felt a sense of schadenfreude.”

That same day, the Wall Street Journal posted a story, “The World Saw Biden Deteriorating. Democrats Ignored the Warnings.” It’s a damning picture that reveals something uncomfortable: Foreign dignitaries likely knew more about Biden’s health than the American people did. Biden, after all, was shielded from the American public but had to be present in person in meetings with foreign leaders.

Americans often forget: The world is watching us. They’re watching for strength. They’re also watching for weakness.

When allies and enemies meet with President Joe Biden, what have they seen? If Biden’s presidential debate performance is any clue, he likely struggled to converse and articulate U.S. stances on policy and defense. Why would Democrats knowingly put the United States in a position to look anything but strong − whether in meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping or the newly defeated British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak?

In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu said to “appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” I fear that when foreign dignitaries have met with Biden that America has appeared weak − and has been weak.

I’m no fan of former President Donald Trump. I don’t think he’s a good presidential candidate or a good representation of the Republican Party. He’s an arrogant, thin-skinned narcissistic buffoon. He’s a convicted felon battling additional indictments. Americans deserve better.

For years, Democrats have weaponized Trump’s character flaws: At least our guy isn’t a fraud or a felon. Yet, their guy has shown the world he isn’t fit mentally or physically to be president.

Now that Biden’s poor condition has been exposed, even I can’t help but wonder: Is Trump actually worse than Biden?

That doesn’t mean I think Trump is any good, but are we at the point where we can acknowledge that both are pretty bad, just in different ways?

The debate exposed the truth. Democrats gaslighted Americans about Biden’s cognitive decline.

Let’s frame this another way: Trump’s flaws have long been exposed for everyone to see − and to decide for themselves his fitness to serve in elected office. But suppose the Republican Party had been propping up a guy who was in serious cognitive decline and denying to the American pubic that he actually was in decline? Would Republicans ever hear the end of it?

Wouldn’t Democrats weaponize such a scandal until the end of time? Of course they would.

It’s time to weigh the serious flaws of both Biden and Trump: Is one worse? Are they both awful? If so, where do we go from here?

Now that we know that Democratic leaders knew about Biden’s decline, why did they hide it for so long?

The answer is important because there are only two possible responses, and neither of them is good.

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Either Democrats hid Biden’s poor condition because they don’t respect Americans or the public’s right to full disclosure.

Or Democrats hid what they knew about Biden because they want to maintain power − no matter the cost to America’s well-being.

Is their thirst for power greater than their respect, empathy and goodwill toward the American public?

Do Democrats dare to answer honestly?

Nicole Russell is an opinion columnist with USA TODAY. She lives in Texas with her four kids. Sign up for her newsletter, The Right Track, and get it delivered to your inbox.