KJP dodges question on Biden’s mental health after he claimed to recently meet with long-dead French leader


White House Press Secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre on Tuesday dodged a question on President Biden’s mental and physical health after the president appeared to confuse French President Emmanuel Macron with French President François Mitterrand, who has been dead for nearly 30 years. 

The gaffe came during a campaign stop in Las Vegas on Sunday. The president was recalling a meeting he had with Macron at the G7 summit in England, shortly after he assumed the White House in 2021. 

Karine Jean-Pierre

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a daily news briefing at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on February 6, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

But instead of Macron, Biden dropped the name of “Mitterrand,” who was the President of France between 1981 and 1995 and died in 1996. 

Fox News’ Peter Doocy on Tuesday questioned how the president could convince large swathes of voters who are worried about his physical and mental health after making those comments. 

Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Pearson Community Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024.  (Ian Maule/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Jean-Pierre, looking visibly annoyed, told Doocy: “I’m not even going to go down that rabbit hole with you, sir. We’re going to go ahead.” 

“What is the rabbit hole?” Doocy asked.

“You saw the president in Vegas, in California. You’ve seen the president in South Carolina. You saw him in Michigan. I’ll just leave it there,” Jean-Piere said. 

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Later in the press conference, a reporter asked Jean-Piere to respond to criticisms that Biden has given far fewer interviews during his presidency than his predecessors. The reporter noted that no press conference was scheduled during Biden’s hosting of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, nor was the president scheduled to give an interview during the Super Bowl. 

“It just seems, again, like we’re in one of these instances where the president is not communicating with the press,” the reporter said. 

Biden in Wisconsin

President Biden is skipping the Super Bowl Sunday interview for the second straight year. (Screenshot/Biden speech)

“Stay tuned. That is the answer for you,” Jean-Pierre said, challenging the notion that the president was not engaging with the press. 

The reporter pushed back, noting that President Biden has given less than half the number of interviews his predecessors have given at this point in the presidency. 

Jean-Pierre said the president communicates in “nontraditional ways.” As to why the president is not doing a Super Bowl interview – missing out on a “massive audience in an election year” – Jean-Pierre said people “want to see the game.” 

“The president will find many other ways to communicate with Americans, the millions of Americans out there,” Jean-Pierre said. “And we will find those ways to do it, where we think the time is right.”  

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Presidents have given pre-taped interviews with the networks broadcasting the NFL championship game for years now. This year the game is being broadcast by CBS. The practice became consistent starting during President Obama’s first term, though former President Trump skipped an NBC interview in 2018

2024 will be the second Super Bowl interview in a row that Biden has declined. 



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