In a leaked video, presidential candidate Joe Biden chided the NAACP president in front of other Black civil rights leaders for expressing concerns about Biden losing Black support. Biden’s aggression points to disunity among Democrats, bad health, or both.
A private meeting on the Zoom video app between Biden, Kamala Harris, and several Black civil rights leaders was never supposed to be viewed by the public. That might partially explain Biden’s hostile tone and demeanor in response to some light criticism, but the bizarre overreaction looks like the sort of frustration exhibited by some dementia or Alzheimer’s patients.
Last week, NAACP President Derrick Johnson urged Biden not to upset Black voters in Georgia before the January 5 run-off Senate election. His concern was over the likely selection of Tom Vilsack to be Biden’s secretary of agriculture. Vilsack upset Blacks in Georgia when he fired Shirley Sherrod, a Black woman, who was serving as the state’s director under the US Department of Agriculture in 2010.
“Let’s get something straight, you shouldn’t be disappointed,” Biden admonished. “What I’ve done so far is more than anybody else has done so far.”
Biden kept on, unrelenting with his ire. What made this exchange newsworthy was Biden’s inability to keep his cool. Biden’s mental health has long been an issue for voters, and Biden has thrust himself into the upcoming Senate election in Georgia.
The Alzheimer’s Association notes that among dementia patients, “aggressive behaviors may be verbal or physical” and that they may “occur suddenly, with no apparent reason, or result from a frustrating situation.” Contributing factors may include “inadequate rest or sleep,” being “hungry or thirsty,” or a side effect of medication.