While speaking at the White House on Friday, President Joe Biden showed Americans once again why many pundits continue to question his cognitive health.
In a moment caught on camera, the president admitted he couldn’t “remember exactly which state” an encounter he was describing had occurred in — even though the entire point of his talk was to announce new executive actions he’d taken pertaining to that very state.
“I can’t remember exactly”
According to a transcript from the White House, Biden was speaking on the North Lawn to announce his recent moves to restore the sprawling boundaries of two national monuments that had been reduced to a more reasonable size by former President Donald Trump — the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, both located in southern Utah.
“I got to tell you a quick story,” Biden said. “When I was running for office — and I’m going to — I’m embarrassed I can’t remember exactly which state I was in — but a gentleman and I think it was his wife and a little girl said, ‘Could I …’ — the little girl said, ‘Could I talk to you?'”
“And she had this — I couldn’t tell — understand what she had in her hand; it looked it a teddy bear or something,” he continued.
Joe Biden: “When I was running for office, I’m embarrassed I can’t remember exactly which state I was in…” pic.twitter.com/eXVvOF4hmE
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 8, 2021
Biden went on to share his story about the little girl — even mimicking her mispronunciation of certain words — and her plea to him to protect the Bears Ears national monument in Utah, first established by former President Barack Obama:
[S]he said, “Can I talk to you, Mister?” She wasn’t sure what to call me because I wasn’t elected yet — “Mr. President” or “Mr. Vice President.”
I said, “Sure. What’s the matter, honey?” She said, “I want to give you something. I want to give you some bears ears.” And I looked at her. And she gave me this little set of bears ears. She said, “You’ve got to pwromise [sic] me. You’ve got to promise me you’ll protect the Bears Ears.” […] And I pwromised. And it’s easiest promise that I’ve made in a long time.
Reversing Trump to please interest groups
According to the Associated Press, Biden moved Friday to restore the previously set boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, the first of which was 1.3 million acres when it was established under Obama, and the second of which was 1.9 million acres when it was created by former President Bill Clinton in 1996.
He also took action on a marine conservation area off the New England coast.
Citing the same century-old Antiquities Act used by Biden to restore the size of the monuments, Trump in 2017 had substantially reduced the size of both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante due to what he described as a “massive land grab” by the federal government under Democrat presidents.
Trump had also opened up the 5,000 square mile Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean to limited commercial fishing operations that proved a boon to that region’s local economy, but that were opposed by environmentalists.
Despite saying the move wasn’t political, Biden nonetheless took shots at his predecessor during his Friday speech and even added in a subtle dig at both of Utah’s Republican senators, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney — arguably two of the most polite men in the Senate — for having registered their opposition to the move.