Republicans seize on Biden’s cheat notes as sign of cognitive decline despite Trump doing the same

‘When you’re around somebody who’s in cognitive decline, you find yourself trying to help them with a sentence, trying to help them complete it’

Related video: Biden defends Putin comments

Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul argued that President Joe Biden’s use of notes during press conferences is a sign of cognitive decline despite former President Donald Trump doing the same during some public appearances.

Mr Biden was in Poland on Saturday to visit US troops stationed there and to speak with allies about the situation in Ukraine. During a speech, he said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power”, prompting speculation among allies and in the media that US foreign policy had changed.

Pushing back on that notion, Mr Biden said at the White House on Monday that he had not been announcing a change in policy, referring to notes as he did so.

He said he will make “no apologies” for his remark at the end of his speech. The comment wasn’t part of his prepared address and wasn’t planned.

“It’s more an aspiration than anything. He shouldn’t be in power. People like this shouldn’t be ruling countries, but they do. The fact is they do, but it doesn’t mean I can’t express my outrage about it,” Mr Biden said.

“I was talking to the Russian people. The last part of the speech was talking to the Russian people, telling them what we thought,” he added.

Mr Biden was holding a note sheet with the headline “Tough Putin Q&A Talking Points”.

“If you weren’t advocating for regime change, what did you mean? Can you clarify?” the note said.

“I was expressing the moral outrage I felt towards the actions of this man,” the notes then suggest as an answer. “I was not articulating a change in policy.”

US President Joe Biden holds a note with talking points related to his comments on Putin as he announces his Budget for Fiscal Year 2023

“Is this now threatening to splinter unity with your NATO allies?” the note stated.

“No. NATO has never been more united,” was the suggested answer.

Mr Biden has used cue cards and notes several times, often bringing a list of names of reporters to call on for questions during press conferences.

Mr Paul blasted Mr Biden for using notes, as well as for his unscripted comment about Mr Putin.

“A lot of times when you’re around somebody who’s in cognitive decline, you find yourself trying to help them with a sentence, trying to help them complete it – but we shouldn’t have to do that for the commander-in-chief,” Mr Paul told Fox News.

“And, it is actually a national security risk because he’s sending signals that no one in their right mind would want to send to Russia at this point,” he added.

On Thursday, Mr Biden said Nato would respond “in kind” if Mr Putin used chemical weapons.

“It would trigger a response in-kind,” Mr Biden said. “Whether or not you’re asking whether NATO would cross, we’d make that decision at the time.”

“We aren’t trying to replace Putin in Russia,” Mr Paul told Fox News. “We aren’t trying to have regime change. We’re not sending troops into Ukraine, and we’re not going to respond in kind with chemical weapons.”

Mr Trump also used cue cards during his time in the White House. In 2018, following the Parkland school shooting in Florida, Mr Trump was photographed with notes reminding him to say “I hear you” during a discussion with survivors of gun violence.

President Donald Trump holds his notes while hosting a listening session with students survivors of mass shootings, their parents and teachers in the State Dining Room at the White House

“What would you most want me to know about your experience?” Mr Trump’s card suggested he ask. “What can we do to make you feel safe?”

In November 2019, Mr Trump was photographed speaking to the press with notes regarding the events leading to his first impeachment trial, which was prompted by him trying to get the Ukrainian government to investigate Mr Biden and his son Hunter.

Mr Trump recounted a conversation with then-US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds his notes while speaking to the media before departing from the White House on November 20, 2019 in Washington, DC

“What do you want from Ukraine, he asks me, screaming, What do you want from Ukraine? I keep hearing all of these ideas and theories. This is ambassador Sondland speaking to me,” Mr Trump said. “And now here is my response that he just gave. Ready? You have the cameras rolling? I want nothing. That’s what I want from Ukraine. That’s what I said, I want nothing. I said it twice.”

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