Jill Biden in disbelief special counsel used son’s death to ‘score political points’

First lady Jill Biden has expressed disbelief that the author of the US justice department’s report clearing her husband of criminal charges over his handling of classified documents prior to his presidency would invoke the death of the couple’s son “to score political points”.

“Believe me, like anyone who has lost a child, Beau and his death [in 2015] never leave him,” she wrote late Saturday in an email to donors supporting Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, days after special counsel Robert Hur’s report asserted that the president could not remember when his and Jill Biden’s son died.

“If you’ve experienced a loss like that, you know that you don’t measure it in years – you measure it in grief. … So many of you know that feeling after you lose a loved one, where you feel like you can’t get off the floor. What helped me, and what helped Joe, was to find purpose. That’s what keeps Joe going, serving you and the country we love.”

The first lady, with her email, joined a chorus of critics who have condemned Hur for dedicating large portions of his report – which failed to produce an indictment – to Biden’s age and purportedly fading memory. That was “flatly inconsistent with longstanding [justice department] traditions”, former US attorney general Eric Holder said of Hur’s report.

Jill Biden’s email on Saturday avoided explicitly naming Hur, once chosen for the role of Maryland’s US attorney by Donald Trump, whom Joe Biden defeated in the 2020 election and is seeking a second presidency. But she wrote that she felt it was necessary “not just as Joe’s wife, but as Beau’s mother” to address “this special counsel” whom Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, had appointed to investigate the president.

“I hope you can imagine how it felt to read that attack,” Jill Biden wrote, seemingly directing herself to Hur. “We should give everyone grace, and I can’t imagine someone would try to use our son’s death to score political points.”

She went on to write that the day former Delaware attorney general Beau Biden died from brain cancer – 30 May 2015 – was “forever etched” on the hearts of her and the president.

“It shattered me,” Jill Biden said of her 46-year-old son’s death. “It shattered our family.”

The first lady also wrote: “I don’t know what this special counsel was trying to achieve.”

Jill Biden’s email made it a point to acknowledge her husband’s age. The Democrat is 81, which is just four years older than Trump, the Republicans’ presumptive 2024 White House nominee.

“Joe is 81, that’s true, but he’s 81 doing more in an hour than most people do in a day,” said Jill Biden, 72. “Joe has wisdom, empathy and vision.

“He’s learned a lot in those 81 years. His age, with his experience and expertise, is an incredible asset and he proves it every day.”

Garland appointed Hur in January 2023 to investigate Biden’s retention of classified documents from his time as Barack Obama’s vice-president. The documents in question included some found at his home and former thinktank.

The 388-page report took away the specter of Biden facing criminal charges over his document retention. But it gave Hur’s fellow Republicans a key attack line by saying Biden came off as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” who “did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died”.

Jill Biden’s defense of her husband received a boost Sunday from the president’s re-election campaign co-chairperson, Mitch Landrieu.

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“I’m telling you, this guy is tough, he’s smart, he’s on his game,” Landrieu – a former White House infrastructure coordinator and ex-New Orleans mayor – said of Biden on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Landrieu, also a former lieutenant governor of Louisiana, added: “This kind of nonsense that he’s not ready for this job is just a bucket of BS that’s so deep your boots will get stuck in it.”

Trump, too, has drawn questions about his mental acuity by flubbing the names of prominent political figures and sounding unsure about whether the second world war occurred.

However, a notable NBC News poll recently found Trump, for the moment, held the edge with voters on the issue of having the necessary mental and physical health to be president – despite his facing more than 90 pending criminal charges, including for trying to subvert his 2020 electoral loss. And a separate ABC poll on Sunday showed 86% of Americans think Biden is too old for another term in the Oval Office.

The focus of the US’s recent political discourse on Biden and Trump’s mental fitness itself has prompted a debate on what constitutes a natural verbal stumble and what qualifies as a sign of cognitive decline.

Experts generally say that misremembering names and dates is not unusual, especially in environments that are stressful or rife with distractions, which public speaking appearances can be for politicos.

In Biden’s case, his interviews with Hur were held right after Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel, which was a crisis for the president’s administration and for the rest of the world.

Source: US Politics -


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