White House aides have expressed concerns about President Biden’s cognitive abilities and his ability to serve for another four years, according to a report from Axios. The outlet mentioned that aides have observed occasional absent-mindedness in Biden but generally dismiss it as normal lapses in concentration because they typically see him fully engaged. Axios spoke to eight current and former Biden Administration aides for its report.

After Thursday night’s debate, some aides are feeling the impact, with some questioning whether the president can continue to function. Others are more optimistic that things can be turned around. However, Biden’s staff generally agrees that the president’s frequent freeze-ups, slurred words, and wide-eyed facial expressions led to a poor night for the campaign.

“Some campaign aides projected calm Friday and framed the debate as just a bad night that they’d recover from. Other Biden aides, donors and senior Democrats were deeply shaken, as Trump and other crowing Republicans questioned his fitness for office,” Axios reported. “Beyond the politics of whether Biden can beat Trump again, the aides expressed new worries about whether the president can carry out his duties through another four-year term.”

The report mentioned that Biden’s rally in North Carolina on Friday, which still featured freeze-ups and blank stares, has calmed some staff members. However, the report also made a stunning revelation about the symptoms of Biden’s cognitive decline.

“The time of day is important as to which of the two Bidens will appear,” Axios reported after speaking with White House staff. “From 10am to 4pm, Biden is dependably engaged — and many of his public events in front of cameras are held within those hours.” Aides told the outlet: “Outside of that time range or while traveling abroad, Biden is more likely to have verbal miscues and become fatigued.” It’s important to recall that the debate with Trump began at 9 p.m. EDT.

Increased confusion and cognitive decline in evening and nighttime hours is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and it’s known as “sundowning.” According to a description from the Alzheimer’s Association website: “Sundowning is increased confusion that people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia may experience from dusk through night. Also called ‘sundowner’s syndrome,’ it is not a disease but a set of symptoms or dementia-related behaviors that may include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, agitation, hallucinations, pacing and disorientation. Although the exact cause is unknown, sundowning may occur due to disease progression and changes in the brain.”

But campaign aides were confident heading into Thursday’s debate that Biden would perform fine, per the outlet. “Some of the close-knit Biden aides who prepped him for the debate told confidantes they were optimistic beforehand, and that he’d done well in their practice sessions,” Axios reported.

While the Biden campaign universally agrees that the debate was a disaster, opinions vary regarding the extent of the damage. The strategy behind holding the debate early was to provide Biden with a boost in the polls, not set him back. Despite the setback, some elements of the campaign remain confident in their ability to turn the tide.

Following his disastrous debate performance, 68% of independent voters want President Joe Biden to drop out of the 2024 race, according to a JL Partners poll, while only 32% believe he should remain the Democrats’ nominee. There is increasing pressure on Biden to step down following his performance on Thursday as many Democrats and members of the media reacted negatively to his performance. But a Biden campaign official stated that the president will stay in the race, while it’s being reported that Biden will take part in the ABC News debate in September.

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