Fox News contributor Marie Harf took offense Wednesday when senior political analyst Brit Hume challenged former Vice President Joe Biden’s mental fitness.
Hume drew a distinction between the regular gaffes that Biden has made and the signs Hume said pointed to age taking its toll, noting that he has seen those same signs of aging in himself. (RELATED: ‘I Have Traces Of This Myself’: Brit Hume Says It’s Clear That Biden Is Slipping)
Hume began by saying that Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris, as Biden’s vice presidential pick, would carry more weight than usual because people were concerned about Biden’s mental acuity.
“She has the task of boosting Biden, but also letting it kind of convince these young Democrats that this is the ticket you can get behind, that yes, Joe Biden is an old man, but she will be there as a force, and of course people believe, because Biden is obviously to some extent at least senile and may not be equipped to go the distance,” Hume explained.
Host Harris Faulkner pressed Hume on that point, asking whether it was a legitimate issue and whether people were really more concerned about Biden’s mental fitness than Trump’s. (RELATED: ‘It’s A Yes Or No Question’: Harris Faulkner Challenges Marie Harf To Name One Republican-Led City Experiencing Violence Similar To Portland)
“You want to elect somebody who is fully on top of things. And to some extent at times, Joe Biden has shown that he is non compos mentis,” Hume said. He went on to say that he and Biden were about the same age and he had experienced similar lapses in memory — drawing a sharp comparison between age-related forgetfulness and regular gaffes.
“Trump, he may have mental problems, but he does not seem to be senile, but —” Hume continued.
“Oh, my goodness,” Faulkner interjected. “We are not doctors. And Marie, I want to get your response.”
“Yeah, I think that for those of us who have worked with and known Joe Biden for a long time, the accusation that he is somehow senile or losing his mind is just so offensive. We are not doctors, Harris,” Harf replied. “Every time a Democrat talks about Donald Trump forgetting words, not being able to read from the Teleprompter, making mistakes that anyone should not make in that position, Republicans jump all over us and they say, ‘Wait a second coming you are not a doctor, you’re not a therapist.'”
“That accusation is a pretty strong one,” Harf concluded, warning once again to stay away from words like “senile.”
“The word senile is not a medical diagnosis,” Hume protested. “It’s not something you need to be a doctor to notice.”
Hume repeated his claim that he had noticed similar changes in himself, noting that the real question was whether someone who was clearly showing such signs should be elected president. “There is a reasonable layman’s conclusion from the evidence that is very clear before us,” he concluded.