President Joe Biden, 78, appeared to exhibit symptoms commonly associated with dementia during a recent meeting with a Democratic congressman.
Rep. Mondaire Jones (D., N.Y.) told the Associated Press he was perplexed by Biden's response to his suggestion that the president become more involved in the party's effort to pass so-called voting rights legislation.
Jones said he approached Biden last week at the White House while attending a signing ceremony for the Republican-backed proclamation making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The president "just sort of stared at me," Jones said, noting the "awkward silence" that followed.
The Mayo Clinic website lists "difficulty communicating or finding words" among the common signs of dementia, along with "confusion and disorientation." An elderly person suffering from cognitive decline may also experience "difficulty handling complex tasks," such as rallying a political party to support so-called voting rights legislation.
The bizarre encounter, in Jones's view, was an example of why Democratic activists have become increasingly frustrated with the Biden administration when it comes to so-called voting rights, an issue White House press secretary Jen Psaki has described as the "fight of [Biden's] presidency."
Vice President Kamala Harris, who counts so-called voting rights among the lengthy portfolio of issues on which she has been tasked to lead, has been similarly absent in the eyes of activists.
The encounter Jones described is certain to fuel concerns about Biden's mental health, especially after the president bumbled his way through the G7 Summit in England earlier this month, embarrassing himself and his country in the process.