From left, Donald Trump (Photo: Flickr) and Joe Biden (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Analysis: Biden May Be Old, but Trump is Dangerous

If you read and watch mainstream media (MSM), you would assume the main issue for the country is Biden’s age. That the media has prioritized this messaging speaks to how much MSM has normalized the most abnormal actions by the Republican party and most dramatically, their leader, former president Donald Trump. Trump is currently under indictment on 91 felony counts and recently was levied an $83.3 million judgment in a defamation suit brought by the woman Trump was found liable of raping.

Trump regularly makes egregious statements about women, minority groups, abortion rights, climate change and immigrants. He has said outright that he wants to be America’s dictator and continually lauds the world’s most oppressive dictators, from Putin to Xi.

So why has the media made Biden’s age the preeminent talking point both in news and punditry and what does that mean for the most vulnerable Americans who would be most harmed by another Trump presidency — like women, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants and people of color.

Anyone who lived through the “October surprise” of 2016 had a visceral frisson of déjà vu when Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Hur released his 388-page report on the investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents when he was vice president.

In 2016, then-FBI director James Comey re-opened the closed investigation into former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email server mere days before the Nov. 8 election. Many feel that action lost the election for Clinton — the first female presidential candidate of a major party who had been leading in the polls against GOP candidate Donald Trump. Comey’s action was splashed across the front page of the New York Times and other newspapers, making Clinton look guilty of something, even as he exonerated her. Comey did not reveal that he was also investigating Trump for election interference.

Former FBI official Andrew McCabe said Monday the similarities between Biden and Hillary Clinton reports were “nauseating.”

Fast forward to now and Hur’s report which, like Comey’s eight years ago, exonerates Biden of any wrongdoing, but with caveats that were meant to raise other doubts about the president. “Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” the report said, but added that the evidence “does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Hur also said that Biden’s carelessness with the documents that were packed away by staff when he left the White House in 2017 “present serious risks to national security.” The damning pièce de résistance was Hur adding that he declined to charge Biden because the president would be perceived by a sympathetic jury as a “well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory,” and thus be exonerated.

Biden, already polling badly with questions about his age dominating mainstream media, was dealt the same body blow as Hillary Clinton in 2016 — the inferences were worse than a possible charge.

Many news stories have discussed Biden’s age since the Hur report, and numerous pundits across various news networks and Sunday politics shows have debated Hur’s comments extensively. GOP candidate and Trump challenger Nikki Haley, used Hur’s report to bolster her campaign narrative that “America doesn’t need two 80-year-olds” as president. Haley turned 52 last month — a generation younger than both men.

On the surface, polls agree with Haley: voters are dissatisfied with both candidates, but more find Biden’s age concerning than Trump’s, despite a mere three years between them.

In 2019, 26 candidates ran in the Democratic presidential primary, ranging in age from 36 to 78. The two finalists were the oldest: Biden and Vermont senator and Socialist firebrand Bernie Sanders, who is a year older than the president.

So yes, Biden is 81. That’s old. It’s also not news. And despite the invidious nature of Hur’s insinuating his snarky gift to the GOP and by extension, Trump, with his repetitive comments about Biden’s memory lapses, mainstream and legacy media have the option of not making that the only story.

The media’s laser focus on Biden’s age and some House GOP using the Hur report to suggest invoking the 25th Amendment against Biden, has virtually ignored what Trump has been telegraphing on the campaign trail about his own memory failures and more alarming still, his quest to be an American dictator.

Anyone who’s had someone with dementia in their family knows Biden doesn’t have dementia as Hur implied and the House GOP claims. It’s one thing to say Biden is old — that’s no secret. It’s another to say he’s mentally incompetent, when he quite obviously is not.

Within hours of the Hur report reveal, Trump was in Harrisburg campaigning. During another of his rambling excesses, Trump’s own severely challenged memory was on display, as were his increasingly more disturbing — and dangerous — comments about world affairs.

While telling an oft-repeated lie about going to Ground Zero after 9/11 — which would have required Trump walk seven and a half miles from Trump Tower to the site as all public transit was stopped — Trump confused the convenience store chain (7-Eleven) with the worst U.S. terrorist attack (9/11): “I went down there, and I watched our police and firemen,… down on 7/11,… down at the World Trade Center right after it came down!”

Trump also claimed that if he loses Pennsylvania in November, “they” will change the state’s name. Trump made these comments in a speech to thousands of members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Harrisburg on Friday night.

“We have to win in November, or we’re not going to have Pennsylvania. They’ll change the name. They’re going to change the name of Pennsylvania,” Trump said.

On Saturday, Trump wanted to know where Nikki Haley’s husband is, implying Michael Haley had left his wife of 28 years. “Where’s your husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone! He knew. He knew,” Trump said. Michael Haley is deployed in Africa.

Michael Haley responded to Trump in a post on Twitter/X, tagging him alongside a meme saying, “The difference between humans and animals? Animals would never allow the dumbest ones to lead the pack.” The tweet received 5.8 million views.

Trump’s remarks on NATO not only included a series of untrue statements but also served as a warning to U.S. allies. He said, “One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us? I said. No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”

Trump — running for president of the U.S. — said Putin, who is currently leading a war against Ukraine, to have free rein over U.S. allies.

Texas Democrat Rep. Jasmine Crockett, who has been a vociferous critic of Trump, told MSNBC, “Listen, this is absolutely ridiculous that we’re even talking about the candidacy of a Donald Trump. Someone who we know was always palling around with Russia, who encouraged interference with our domestic elections in the first place.”

The New York Times chose to prioritize Hur and say Trump’s toxic masculinity is a selling point over Biden’s “seeming frailty,” ignoring the NATO comments altogether. The rest of the world is listening to Trump, even if the U.S.’s newspaper of record is not. The New European noted Tuesday that “Europe’s NATO members must brace for a re-elected Trump.”

Trump’s repeated statements about ridding the U.S. of immigrants while doubling down on his Nazi rhetoric about immigrants “poisoning the blood” of the nation is part of his growing fascist playbook. Biden being 81 is not comparable to Trump’s plan to round up immigrants on Day 1 and deport them.

With Trump’s extremism on full display, it’s deeply concerning that this is not the priority of the media — just as Hillary’s emails were the focus in 2016 and not Trump’s blatant racism, misogyny, xenophobia and links to Russia.

Americans know Biden is old. But it is also true that Biden’s presidency has been largely progressive and focused on the betterment of the total American society, including historically marginalized groups like women, LGBTQ+ people and people of color. Biden has prioritized science, from ending the worst of the pandemic to focusing on arresting climate change. Biden has been the best president for LGBTQ+ people in history as well as for unions, working people and Black Americans.

We also know what a Trump presidency looks like and how dangerous it is. Media narratives drive confirmation bias. As long as the media thinks Biden’s occasional memory lapses are comparable to telling a global dictator to attack our allies, the 2024 election — and with it democracy itself — will continue to be in jeopardy.

Story courtesy of Philadelphia Gay News via the National LGBTQ Media Association. The National LGBTQ Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here: