Democratic lawmaker on Biden presser: ‘That’s not the way you want to do it’

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) joined CNN Friday morning to discuss President Biden’s impromptu press conference from the night before, where the president angrily defended himself against accusations that his memory is failing him.

Special counsel Robert Hur had released his findings Thursday in the case investigating Biden’s handling of classified materials. The report recommended no charges against the president but painted him as an elderly man with a bad memory.

Smith, the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, also responded to a gaffe Biden made at the press conference, where he mistakenly referred to the Egyptian president as the “president of Mexico.”

Smith said Biden’s address to the media was “not the way you want to do it.” The congressman said it was clear that the president was angry and that it did not go well, but highlighted his accomplishments in office. Smith argued that he has had the occasional slip up in his tenure and “it is not as easy as it looks” to try and fix it.

“He was angry, he was frustrated by what came out, there was not a prepared clear agenda of ‘OK, here’s my explanation, here’s what I’m doing,’ and it didn’t go well. There’s no doubt about it,” he said.

Biden, 81, and former President Trump, 77, have both faced questions about their age in recent weeks after making notable mistakes in speeches and interviews.

Smith said he has had conversations with Biden where they’ve discussed “incredibly complicated, important subjects” and at “no time did I think that he wasn’t completely on top of that very complicated situation,” specifically referencing the Israel-Hamas war, the Russia-Ukraine war and the southern border.

The Democratic lawmaker said he is “quite confident” that Biden knows what’s going on in the world “based on the interactions that I’ve had with him.”

“Look, I’m not going to kid you on one point. It is a challenge that he is as old as he is. It is, without question. He is fully capable of doing the job. He’s doing it well. He does not have the normal strength to go out there and campaign, you know, to do rally after rally in and conversation after conversation and that’s going to be difficult on the campaign trail,” he said.

“But as I’ve said before, President Biden may not be the best campaigner in the world, he’s doing a good job as president. I’d rather have someone who’s good at the job and not great at the campaigning than the other way around,” Smith continued.

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