WASHINGTON ― President Joe Biden pushed back angrily Thursday at a special counsel report that portrayed him as an elderly man with “diminished capacities” including memory loss, saying it has “no place in this report.”
“My memory is fine,” Biden said in a primetime address to the nation. “Take a look at what I’ve done since I’ve become president.”
Biden’s rebuttal came during previously unannounced remarks from the White House. Earlier Thursday, Robert Hur, special counsel for the Justice Department, exonerated Biden from charges for his possession of classified documents but, in part, because Biden has “poor memory.”
“For any extraneous commentary, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” the 81-year-old Biden said. “It has no place in this report. The bottom line is, the matter is now closed.”
Biden, visibly upset throughout his 14 minutes of remarks, turned particularly emotional when addressing claims in Hur’s report that Biden could not could not remember what year his son Beau died of cancer.
More: DOJ report digs into Biden’s mishandling classified documents, ‘poor memory’: 5 takeaways
“There’s even reference that I don’t remember when my son died,” Biden said, choking up. “How in the hell dare he raise that? Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn damn business.
Clinching his teeth, Biden added: “I don’t need anybody to remind me when he passed away.”
Biden’s critics seized on the special counsel report to reinforce concerns voters have about Biden’s age ahead of the 2024 election − an issue that was already one of his biggest liabilities.
Biden also rejected Hur’s conclusion that Biden “willfully retained” the classified materials but only spared him of charges because jurors would likely find reasonable doubt.
“I’ve seen the headlines since the report was released about my willful retention of documents. These assertions are not only misleading, they’re just plain wrong,” Biden said.
More: Biden won’t face charges for keeping classified records but DOJ criticizes ‘risks to national security’
Biden turned confrontational with reporters after his prepared remarks when asked about his memory.
“Only by some of you,” Biden shot back when asked whether the report will fuel additional concerns about his age before the 2024 election.
“That is your judgement. That is your judgement. That is not the judgement of the press,” Biden said, responding to a second reporter’s question on voters’ concerns about his age.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Biden lashes out at special counsel over alleged memory loss