After his State of the Union address in March, President Joe Biden appeared to allay concerns about his abilities at 81. Speaking firmly, he faced down Republican lawmakers who mocked him. However, one Democratic congressman who had shaken Biden’s hand that night was troubled by his appearance, describing him as «frail and weak.»

Biden’s poor performance in a recent debate with Donald Trump has raised questions. Some Democratic lawmakers, who have watched Biden closely, are now questioning his ability to stay in office. They cite memory lapses and inconsistencies noted during his tenure.

A significant team of aides surrounds Biden, helping to prevent potential embarrassment. He often uses a shorter ladder to climb onto Air Force One to minimize the risk of falling. No president since Reagan has given fewer interviews, avoiding off-the-books questions.

The debate has stripped away that protection, revealing troubling traits. Biden now faces a crisis to prove his ability. Senator Chris Coons, a close ally, cited Biden’s recognition that he must “regain the trust of the American people.”

While some, like Coons, vouch for Biden’s sharpness, others see a diminished figure. A third Democratic lawmaker noted that Biden has looked “extremely tired” recently, describing the debate as his “worst” but not an aberration.

About 40 Democratic lawmakers exchanged messages after the debate, but none said Biden should stay in the race. In response, his campaign quoted members of Congress who support Biden’s toughness.

Representative Gerry Connolly, a former Biden aide, vouched for Biden’s mental acuity, noting his ability to remember names and show genuine interest.

People age differently, and the presidency accelerates aging. Reagan, at 79, testified in 1990, often saying, “I don’t remember.” Biden has demonstrated an impressive command of his talents, as noted during preparations for a speech in France last month.

In short, while Biden is under scrutiny for his debate performance, he continues to have supporters who believe in his mental clarity and ability.