Biden jokes about Trump’s mental fitness at Washington’s Gridiron dinner


US President Joe Biden (left) and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gesture during separate gatherings. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden took jabs on Sunday at former president Donald Trump with jokes about the mental fitness of his election opponent during a speech at the Gridiron Club dinner, a Washington tradition that began in the 1880s.

Biden’s appearance at the dinner, in which politicians and journalists trade humorous barbs in a white-tie formal affair, was the first time a president has attended in person since former president Donald Trump in 2018.

Biden, 81, recently clinched the Democratic Party’s nomination for this year’s presidential election and will face off against Trump, 77, in a rematch in November. Biden is trying to court voters, boost his low approval ratings and allay concerns that he is too old to run again.

“One candidate is too old and mentally unfit to be president. The other one is me,” Biden said on Sunday, in front of more than 650 guests who included the Taoiseach of Ireland Leo Varadkar, Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, whose U.S. business could be banned by Biden.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Trump has also questioned Biden’s mental capacity to be president.

Biden reinforced the importance of the press, which he said is not “the enemy of the people,” in stark contrast to previous remarks by Trump about the news media.

He also spoke about the war in Ukraine with Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas, who attended Saturday’s dinner.

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