Over 45 lawmakers and administration officials who spoke with the Wall Street Journal reported significant cognitive declines they have observed in President Joe Biden since he first took office. The revelations have caused a stir on Capitol Hill as White House officials rushed to gather support to challenge these descriptions as more Americans voice concerns about him serving another four years.

In private meetings, President Biden has occasionally lost his train of thought, relied heavily on notecards during negotiations, and once spoke so incoherently that attendees later asked one another what he was trying to convey. At 81, President Biden is the oldest person to occupy the White House and has been compelled to respond assertively to the widespread concerns among Americans about his potential second term.

While many of the sources who spoke with the Journal leaned Republican, the outlet also interviewed several Democrats who were initially critical of Biden but later received stern warnings from administration officials. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), a Democratic lawmaker with five terms in office, initially discussed  Biden’s declining mental sharpness with the outlet. Following this, the White House contacted Meeks, who then reached out to the media to modify his characterization of the meetings.

“They just, you know, said that I should give you a callback,” said Meeks, referring to the White House. Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the president, defended the intervention, stating, “We thought it was important that all perspectives be represented” to correct what he said were “false and politically motivated claims.”

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Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) expressed disappointment with Biden’s lack of intensity during closed-door negotiations on the debt ceiling, in an interview with the Journal. “He would ramble,” said McCarthy, who led the Republican side of the talks. “He always had cards. He couldn’t negotiate another way.” His remembering contrasts with remarks he made at the time, saying Biden’s team “was very professional, very smart, very tough at the same time.”

Last May, with the federal government just 11 days away from defaulting, McCarthy recounted a phone call with Biden from Air Force One. “On that phone call, he was more with it than any other time,” McCarthy recalled. The next day, Biden returned to discussing parts of a deal that had already been agreed upon. “He was going back to all the old stuff that had been done for a long time,” McCarthy said. “And he was shocked when I’d say: ‘No, Mr. President. We talked about that meeting days ago. We are done with that.’”

“I used to meet with him when he was vice president. I’d go to his house. He’s not the same person,” McCarthy added. Bates, the White House spokesman, referred to previous statements by McCarthy and others who spoke with The Journal, which he said contradict their current characterizations of the president.

“Congressional Republicans, foreign leaders and nonpartisan national-security experts have made clear in their own words that President Biden is a savvy and effective leader who has a deep record of legislative accomplishment Now, in 2024, House Republicans are making false claims as a political tactic that flatly contradict previous statements made by themselves and their colleagues,” Bates claimed.

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Former President Donald Trump made a stunning prediction about Biden last month ahead of at least two debates the two sides have agreed to before the November election. Trump discussed the possibility during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that Democrats might remove Biden from the 2024 election ticket, especially if Biden’s apparent “infirmity” worsens, as some expect it will with age.

Trump’s comments came as he accepted Biden’s debate challenge. The challenge was presented in a 14-second video that included five jump cuts, suggesting multiple takes were needed for Biden to complete the statement. Trump agreed to participate in two debates with Biden, one in early summer and another in early fall.

“Do you think if his infirmity increases, they will dump him, Mr. President, at the convention, replace him with Kamala or [California Gov. Gavin] Gavin or someone like that?” Hewitt asked. Trump said, “I do. I do.” He added, “I don’t think they’ll have a choice.”

Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.