Last week, I suggested in this story that what seemed to be a half-in-jest suggestion by President Trump that he and Joe Biden should be drug tested prior to the first Presidential Debate might just be a clever approach to raising a very direct challenge to the question of Joe Biden’s current mental condition, and his capacity to serve in the role of President.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Byron York reported the following:
Biden took part in 11 debates during the primary season. Most were against a crowded field of candidates, but the final debate, on March 15, was just Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The president claimed to see a big difference between the last debate and those that came before.
“Nobody thought that he was even going to win,” Trump said. “Because his debate performances were so bad. Frankly, his best performance was against Bernie. We’re going to call for a drug test, by the way, because his best performance was against Bernie. It wasn’t that he was Winston Churchill because he wasn’t, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened. And we are going to call for a drug test because there’s no way — you can’t do that.”
I suggested in my earlier story that — assuming the President takes no medications for undisclosed health conditions — such a challenge could put the Biden campaign in a very difficult spot. It seems likely that Biden is taking some form of medication for his dementia. If that medication would show up in a blood screen, a blood test would confirm to voters that Biden is exactly as he appears — an elderly man now suffering the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. If the campaign had him discontinue the medications to avoid having them turn up in a drug test, there could be an impact on his debate performance such that he looks worse than he does already.
Yesterday, Pres. Trump was interviewed by Laura Ingraham, and he brought the matter up again — but not in the same kind of “off-cuff-manner” that he suggested it seemingly out of the blue to York. She asked him a deliberate and specific question about his earlier comments, and he gave a direct and extended answer where he made it clear that he thinks Biden is on medications to help him with his cognitive functioning. There is no longer any question that the Trump campaign is going to make this an overt attack on Biden’s fitness for office — and they should.
The third option for the Biden camp is probably their most likely — find some excuse for Biden to not participate in the Presidential Debates. His inability to get through his speech in Pittsburgh — standing alone for the most part in an empty warehouse reading directly from a teleprompter with no distractions — demonstrates what is going to be an inability to get through a 90-minute debate. The probability of a gaffe is so high under those circumstances that it really is nothing less than a “bet the election” gambit. There cannot be any confidence in the Biden camp that he would get through one debate without multiple problems, much less three debates.
There is no question but that Pres. Trump would bully him and goad him throughout a debate. The most effective approach would be to pose questions to Biden that forced him to draw upon events in the past. We know from experience — and the issue has worsened as Biden’s condition has worsened — that when Biden gets confused he simply invents things that he thinks make him look good.
The combination of a halting and uncertain appearance, combined with an ever-lessening grip on reality, would threaten the viability of the campaign in every respect. It might actually force Biden off the ticket.
My suspicions have always been that Biden would be removed from the ticket after the convention. But the intra-party bloodbath that would result if anyone other than Bernie Sanders was to take his place makes that option impossible. Instead, the strategy seems to be to run Biden as a third term of Barack Obama and hope for the best. A botched debate would destroy that.
I think the “drug test” subject will be a standard part of the Trump stump speech on the campaign trail for the next 4 weeks.