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Biden’s verbal fumble over East Palestine has people scratching their heads

By Sarah May
|
February 25, 2023

As reports emerged this week about the possibility that President Joe Biden may not seek a second term in office, the commander in chief was captured on video in a bizarre riff about the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment controversy and his participation in a Zoom call on the topic, according to Fox News.

The odd exchange with reporters occurred Friday on the White House lawn as Biden was set to depart for another weekend getaway at his Wilmington, Delaware home.

Ohio not on itinerary

With controversy continuing to swirl over the response – or lack thereof – offered by top Biden administration officials to the residents of East Palestine in the wake of this month's derailment, reporters took the opportunity to ask Biden whether he might indeed consider paying a visit to the beleaguered Midwestern town. “Are you planning on traveling to East Palestine?” Biden was asked before boarding Marine One on his way out of town.

The president replied, “At this moment not. I was, I did a whole video, I mean, uh, you know, the uh, what the hell? On...”

“Zoom?” the reporter interjected, to which Biden said, “Zoom. All I can hear every time I think of Zoom is that song of my generation, “Who's Zoomin' Who?” WATCH:

Confusion abounds

It was not only on the White House lawn that Biden appeared confused about the steps he has taken to respond to the crisis in East Palestine, as was evident during an interview with David Muir of ABC News.

“So do you plan to travel [to East Palestine] and have you talked with the mayor?” asked Muir.

Biden replied, “I, I, I can't recall...I don't think I've talked to the mayor, I've talked to everyone else there, and, multiple times...I've talked to everyone there is to talk to...” WATCH:

Will he or won't he?

During their conversation, Muir also broached the question of whether Biden does indeed intend to run for another term in the Oval Office, a question perhaps necessitated by recent reporting casting “at least some doubt on the prospect.

“Let me ask you the question everyone is asking. Are you running?” Muir inquired of the president in a matter-of-fact fashion.

Biden jocularly replied, “Well, apparently, someone interviewed my wife today, I heard. I gotta call her and find out.”

The president continued, “No, all kidding aside, my intention has been from the beginning to run. But there's too many other things we have to finish in the near term before I start a campaign.”

Jill says yes

The interview with the first lady to which the president referred was conducted by Darlene Superville of the Associated Press, who subsequently reported that according to Mrs. Biden, there is “pretty much” nothing left to do in terms of launching her husband's reelection bid besides choosing the time and place for the official kickoff.

Superville noted, however, that Biden continues to face questions concerning whether he remains sufficiently vigorous and mentally fit to serve as commander in chief through age 86, which would be his age at the end of a putative second term.

Mrs. Biden, for her part, appeared far more certain about what lies ahead for her husband than he did in his chat with Muir, with the first lady asking rhetorically, “How many times does he have to say it for you to believe it?” and adding, “He says he's not done. He's not finished what he's started. And that's what's important.”

However, given Biden's own non-committal responses to questions about 2024 and the fact that he took yet another tumble on the way up the stairs to Air Force One while in Poland last week, it is no surprise that uncertainty about his campaign future continues to linger in the air.