President Joe Biden received sharp criticism for his performance at CNN’s town hall on Wednesday, as prominent individuals on both the left and right took to Twitter to bash his awkwardness.
Throughout the event with CNN’s Don Lemon at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Biden was mocked by politicians, journalists, and others for seeming incoherent as he tried to talk about coronavirus, the partisan Jan. 6 Capitol riot commission, inflation, the filibuster, and more. The president reiterated at one point that attempts by Republicans to introduce election integrity measures are “Jim Crow on steroids.”
“I don’t know about you but I’m thrilled this is the guy in charge of the free world. We should all sleep sound at night,” said Donald Trump Jr. “Hey at least there’s no mean tweets… mostly because this guy wouldn’t be capable of a tweet or even a complete thought.”
“President Biden has said ‘not a joke’ at least seven times over the past 30 minutes,” tweeted Washington Post White House reporter Matt Viser.
President Biden has said “not a joke” at least seven times over the past 30 minutes. Not a joke. Literally.
— Matt Viser (@mviser) July 22, 2021
“Possible drinking game for those who, unlike me, aren’t working: Every time President Biden says: 1. All kidding aside 2. I’m not joking 3. I’m being serious 4. I’m not being facetious,” said CBS News digital White House reporter Kathryn Watson.
Possible drinking game for those who, unlike me, aren't working:
Every time President Biden says:
1. All kidding aside
2. I'm not joking
3. I'm being serious
4. I'm not being facetious
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) July 22, 2021
“Is this for real?” wrote GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York. “And the media will continue to fawn and look the other way.”
Is this for real? 🤔
And the media will continue to fawn and look the other way. https://t.co/lPY89qzCFd
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) July 22, 2021
“Reagan was younger than Biden is currently when he left office, and Reagan was never this incoherent in public. People still speculate wildly whether Reagan was non compos mentis in office, but the mainstream press won’t even broach the subject now,” tweeted Mark Hemingway, a senior writer at RealClearInvestigations.
Reagan was younger than Biden is currently when he left office, and Reagan was never this incoherent in public. People still speculate wildly whether Reagan was non compos mentis in office, but the mainstream press won't even broach the subject now. https://t.co/guSeAwF9va
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) July 22, 2021
Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn sounded off on Lemon for coddling Biden, accusing him of not asking difficult questions.
“Don Lemon is not a journalist,” Blackburn tweeted. “He is an activist. #BidenTownhall.”
Don Lemon is not a journalist.
He is an activist. #BidenTownhall
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) July 22, 2021
Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Epstein called out CNN for limiting event capacity, tweeting, “What the Biden CNN town hall looks like from the back of the auditorium” with a photo of a sparse crowd.
What the Biden CNN town hall looks like from the back of the auditorium: pic.twitter.com/juUehd7PDu
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) July 22, 2021
“CNN was very careful to not show that no one showed up for the Biden Town Hall,” tweeted New York radio host Mark Simone, “and that most of the room was empty: #BidenTownHall.”
— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) July 22, 2021
CNN spokeswoman Lauren Pratapas told the New York Post the audience size was “typical … for a CNN town hall,” but she reportedly declined to comment on the reason for the small number of people.
In describing the event in full, “Bongino Report” called it a “train wreck,” and National Review editor Jack Butler said it was “contrived” and a “hideous spectacle unbecoming of a self-governing republic.”
Former President Donald Trump has joked about the size of Biden’s events in the past. “Biden comes to Florida, you have like 12, 13 people,” Trump told attendees at a Jacksonville rally last September. “You know, they do the circles. And he has a hard time filling up the circles. Here we probably have 30,000 people or so.”