NYT Reporter Says He Has To Use Translation Headset To Understand Biden Clearly

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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A New York Times reporter has begun using a translation headset to understand President Joe Biden’s words clearly, an opinion columnist noted Sunday.

Opinion columnist Maureen Dowd wrote of the 81-year-old Biden’s increasingly slurred speech and mismatching of words in recent times, which has been more thoroughly noticed following his notably disastrous debate performance. Peter Baker, the Times’ chief White House correspondent, reportedly told Dowd he is using the translation headset “even when he is 20 feet” from the elderly president.

“Second of all, we were entering a new post-debate examination period with President Biden, where his every word would be scrutinized. He was always a fast and voluminous talker, and as he has gotten older, the words and ideas sometimes tumble out in the wrong order. Also, he’s more slurry now, so words get smushed together, and words and thoughts collide; words get dropped, caesuras skipped, and sentences sometimes trail off into the ether,” Dowd wrote.

“The Times’s chief White House correspondent, Peter Baker, told me he has started using translation headsets on overseas trips, even when he is 20 feet away from the president, because they offer a magnified volume when Biden starts to mumble,” she continued.

Biden spoke in a noticeably raspy voice and lost his train of thought during the June 27 debate against former President Donald Trump. His performance during the debate has caused the public and congressional Democrats to call on the president to withdraw from the race to ensure a Democratic victory against Trump in November. (RELATED: ‘That Guy Was Not On The Stage’: Van Jones Says Biden Isn’t Dealing With ‘Reality’ Despite Coming Out For Interview) 

Dowd argued the media should critique Biden’s speaking abilities to sound the alarm on his mental capacity and ability to defeat Trump. She compared Biden’s rhetoric to former President Ronald Reagan, who still spoke in a “clear baritone” while serving in the Oval Office in his 70’s.

“Biden’s word salad and sudden drops in volume to pianissimo are relevant for reporters to cover because they’re a microcosm of the questions at the heart of the 2024 Democratic campaign: Is the president’s mental state strong enough to beat Donald Trump and can he serve for four more years? The desperate Biden team is ready to go to war over every syllable,” she said.

Biden told ABC News interview George Stephanopoulos he would feel he did “the goodest job” he could have done if he potentially witnessed Trump get sworn in as president. After a close review of the interview, Dowd and her team pointed out that “goodest” is not a word, though a Biden spokesperson argued ABC changed its transcript to instead quote Biden saying “good as.”

The president has committed to staying in the race despite a rising number of congressional Democrats calling on him to step down. Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett became the first Democrat to call for Biden’s withdrawal, with several more following suit.

Biden and his spokespeople have repeatedly asserted he simply had a “bad night” and suffered from a cold during the debate. Biden’s aides have reportedly shielded the president from the public to hide his mental state and have expressed concern about him being in the same room as other foreign leaders, Axios reported.