The media obsession with President Joe Biden’s age is an ongoing bad joke—especially with Donald Trump right there, spewing utter nonsense. At a speech to union auto workers Thursday, Biden deftly made that point, not through planned remarks but by seizing an unexpected moment and turning it into a good joke.
“They just need to be given a shot,” he was saying. “A fair shot and a fair wage. That’s not too much to ask.”
At this point, a thud interrupted him. Someone must have fallen, because Biden looked over and said, “You okay?”
This is where it gets good: Biden followed that with a pause and a glance around before saying, “I want the press to know that wasn’t me.” As the audience cheered and laughed, he then turned and did a pretty accurate impression of Trump’s impression of him supposedly staggering, bewildered, away from a podium.
Let’s be crystal clear about this: Biden responded to someone apparently falling in his audience by 1) appropriately checking in on them, 2) making fun of the media’s obsession with his supposed infirmity, and 3) making fun of Trump’s obsession with the same. That’s a very high level of functioning in exactly the ways we’re relentlessly told Biden does not do.
That shouldn’t overshadow Biden’s message to the UAW—though he managed to draw laughs there, too:
“Let’s think about this,” Biden said. “When my predecessor [clears throat slightly], the distinguished—anyway.” Audience laughter. Someone called out, “We know.” Biden jokingly crossed himself.
When my predecessor was in office, six factories closed across the country. Tens of thousands of auto jobs were lost nationwide and on top of that, he was willing to cede the future of electric vehicles to China. He said if America invested in electric vehicles, it would drive down wages, it would destroy jobs, it would spell the end of the American automobile industry.
Well, like almost everything else he said, he’s wrong. You have proved him wrong. Instead of lower wages, you won record gains. Instead of fewer jobs, you won a commitment for thousands of more jobs. Instead of less involvement and investment, you encouraged American automakers to invest $40 billion in the American auto industry beginning now. $40 billion.
They never [inaudible] we were going to shut down, remember my other guy? And here’s the difference: When you were in the middle of a fight, I stood and others stood with you shoulder to shoulder on that picket line. My predecessor went to a nonunion shop and attacked you.
But Biden will never get the credit for moments like this. Meanwhile, Trump seems to get plaudits when he manages to correctly identify which country Viktor Orban leads.