President Joe Biden angrily addressed the nation on Thursday night telling Americans ‘I know what the hell I am doing!’ and insisting that ‘my memory is fine.’
However, moments later he committed another startling gaffe, referring to the Egyptian leader as the President of Mexico.
Biden’s furious tirade from the White House came after a report into his handling of classified documents was released by the Justice Department.
The 388-page report by Special Counsel Robert Hur confirmed he would not be charged for keeping classified documents in his garage.
But it said that was because a jury would probably conclude he had ‘diminished faculties’ and was a ‘well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.’
In a hastily arranged press conference an agitated Biden insisted: ‘I know what the hell I’m doing! My memory has not gotten worse. My memory is fine. Take a look at what I have done since becoming president.
‘No one thought I could pass any of the things I got passed. How did that happen? I guess I just forgot what was going on…’
The surprise announcement came hours after the Department of Justice released its long-awaited investigation into Joe Biden ‘s mishandling of classified documents
The president was particularly animated with Hur’s inclusion of the claim that he couldn’t remember the timing of his son Beau’s death.
Hur’s report said: ‘He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died.’
Biden brought up the topic himself, fuming: ‘There’s even reference that I don’t remember when my son died. How in the hell dare he raise that? I don’t need anyone, I don’t need anyone, to remind me of when he passed away.
‘Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself, wasn’t any of their damned business.’
He also said reports about his ‘willful’ retention of documents were ‘misleading.’
At one point he yelled: ‘I did not share classified information! I did not!’
Biden then took a question about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
In doing so he botched the identification of a world leader, calling Egypt’s Abdel Fattah El-Sisi the President of Mexico.
He said: ‘I think as you know initially, the president of Mexico, El-Sisi, did not want to open up the gate to humanitarian material to get in. I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate.’
The mix-up with El-Sisi might have gone little noticed in another week. Many politicians occasionally botch names while speaking in public, as the White House pointed out Thursday.
But this week Biden has already twice mixed up the identities of world leaders, instead bringing up predecessors who have passed away.
The president went on to blame his staff for sensitive documents from his time as vice president being found at his home, garage and office.
He blamed subordinates for some of the decisions that got him in trouble and precipitated the year-long probe that is already providing fodder for President Donald Trump’s campaign.
‘I take responsibility for not having seen exactly what my staff was doing,’ he said.
President Biden went after reporters and blasted Special Counsel Robert Hur for targeting his memory in his report announcing the decision not to charge him over handling of classified documents
Biden was asked about the report’s assertion that one of the reasons he wasn’t charged was because a jury might be sympathetic to a ‘well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.’
He responded: ‘I’m well meaning and I’m an elderly man, and I know what the hell I’m doing. I’m the president and I put this country back on its feet. I don’t need his recommendation it’s totally out of [order].’
Biden was then asked: ‘How bad is your memory, and can you continue as president?’
‘My memory is so bad I let you speak,’ Biden retorted.
Although the report did not recommend bringing charges it provides a cascade of damaging findings about files found in Biden’s garage as well as the president’s fitness for office.
In interviews with investigators, Biden became muddled about the dates he was vice president and could not even remember the year in which his son Beau died, the report said.
And it said his attitude to classified documents, such as his habit of reading sensitive files to a ghostwriter, posed a significant national security risk.
His aides had pointed to more favorable parts of the report, including a passage that said his errors were not in league with allegations faced by Trump.
Biden also took a question on the situation in Gaza, issuing one of his toughest lines yet on Israel’s prosecution of the war.
‘The response in the Gaza Strip has been over the top,’ he said.
In one damaging passage in the report that set off Biden, it said: ‘He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 – when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’).’