Two weeks ago, Fox News star Tucker Carlson acknowledged on air that Trumpworld’s attempts to portray Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as “senile” were off the mark after the former vice president performed well at the first presidential debate. It was a “mistake to spend so much time focusing on Joe Biden’s mental decline,” Carlson said.
Apparently, Sean Hannity didn’t get that message, as he devoted much of his Monday night Fox News broadcast to hammering Biden for his supposed cognitive decline.
The night after the first debate, Carlson—who like other Fox News opinion hosts had devoted ample coverage to painting the 77-year-old Biden as suffering from dementia—acknowledged that the strategy was not working.
“As a political matter, the main thing we learned last night is that it was a mistake to spend so much time focusing on Joe Biden’s mental decline,” Carlson said on Sept. 30. “Yes, it’s real. Yes, Joe Biden is fading, we’ve showed you dozens of examples of it for months now.”
“But on stage last night, Biden did not seem senile,” he continued. “If you tuned in expecting him to forget his own name—and honestly, we did expect that—you may have been surprised by how precise some of his answers were. Not all of them, but enough of them. Trump isn’t going to win this race by calling Joe Biden senile.”
Carlson, who has privately advised Trump on a number of policy issues, has since pumped the brakes on depicting the ex-veep as a doddering old fool. Hannity, not so much.
The pro-Trump primetime host, who also serves as an informal adviser and shadow chief of staff to the president, kicked off Monday night’s program by blasting Biden for briefly forgetting Sen. Mitt Romney’s name, while an on-air graphic blared “Very Forgetful” besides Biden’s picture.
“Maybe somebody on the staff might want to remind the ever forgetful Joe that he is running for president. He’s not running for senator,” Hannity said, referencing a recent gaffe by Biden. “He keeps forgetting, forgets the day of the week, forgets what office he’s running for. He is running for president, not senator. Somebody remind him!”
The Fox News star went on to play a montage of Biden making verbal blunders and slip-ups—most at least a year old—as definitive proof that the presidential hopeful is suffering from mental decline.
“This is pretty serious, by the way. These are way beyond an occasional campaign gaffe, and I am beginning, well, I’m more than worried that this man could represent a clear and present danger to this country,” Hannity declared. “He is obviously not capable of leading. He has been hiding the entire campaign, and the corrupt media mob is covering for him.”
Hannity then welcomed on Fox News contributor and former George W. Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer to discuss whether it was a “fair argument” to suggest there’s “something going on here that is scary” regarding Biden’s mental fitness.
“It’s always been a fair and real argument, Sean, I think we all know that watching Joe Biden that he’s a few fries short of a Happy Meal,” Fleischer snarked with a smile, adding that the mainstream media was hiding Biden’s decline.
After Fleischer called for Trump—who currently trails Biden by double digits in the polls—to “exercise sufficient restraint” at the next debate to let the “people see it for themself” with regard to Biden, Hannity laid out a new theory on Biden’s strong performance at the last debate.
“If my theory is right, you notice Joe Biden went into hiding before the first debate for days, and I think they altered his daily clock and I think they tried to maximize his best cognitive hour to be during debate time,” Hannity asserted. ”And God knows what 12 cups of Red Bull might do for someone to get them through an hour and a half.”
In a later segment with Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley, Hannity wondered aloud if the law professor agreed with his observation that Biden “seems weak” and “cognitively that he is struggling.”
“I don’t want to assume that he’s in decline,” Turley said, though he added that he believes “it’s fair for people to ask why there’s such a lack of clarity and coherence in his positions.”
The Fox host also brought the issue up during a panel discussion with frequent guests Dan Bongino and Geraldo Rivera, though neither Fox News personality seemed all that willing to agree with Hannity that Biden was “struggling cognitively.”
Bongino insisted that the former vice president was a “con man and he’s getting exposed,” prompting Hannity to “disagree” and insist that Biden doesn’t “even know what he’s saying half the time.”
Rivera, meanwhile, merely deflected both times Hannity tried to get him to agree that Biden is not mentally fit for the job, instead pivoting the discussion to the president’s recent return to the campaign trail after battling the coronavirus.
Hannity isn’t the only Fox News star who has continued to paint the Democratic nominee as suffering from age-related mental decline. Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, who has been hammering this talking point for months, once again said it’s “been obvious” for a while that Biden’s “senile” during his appearance on Fox News Sunday this week.