Biden refers to Trump, says ‘he can’t remember his wife’s name’

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US President Joe Biden played down concerns about his age in an interview with late-night TV comic Seth Meyers on Monday as he tried to reach out to hesitant -- and younger -- voters ahead of the November election.

The 81-year-old told the host he was a better bet than “the other guy” -- 77-year-old Donald Trump, the Republican former president he is almost certain to face in a bitter rematch of their 2020 contest.

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In the prerecorded interview, Meyers -- whose jokes on his weeknight NBC show regularly target Trump -- said that Democrat Biden’s age was a “real concern for American voters.”

“You got to take a look at the other guy. He’s about as old as I am, but he can’t remember his wife’s name,” Biden responded to laughter and cheers from the live audience.

He was referencing a section earlier in the show where Meyers showed a video of Trump apparently calling his wife Melania “Mercedes.”

“Number two, it’s about how old your ideas are. Look, I mean, this is a guy who wants to take us back. He wants to take us back on Roe v. Wade,” he said, referring to women’s reproductive freedoms.

Biden has been criticized for doing few media interviews or press conferences since coming to office, but he now faces an intense campaign season if he is to defeat the media-savvy Trump.

He traveled to New York for the interview, and then went to get ice cream with host Meyers at a parlor next-door, choosing mint chocolate chip.

The president’s appearance was set up in a skit between Meyers and comedian Amy Poehler, who had been with Biden on the show’s first edition in 2014.

When Meyers said Biden had a “bigger job now so he was unavailable” to appear for the show’s 10th anniversary, Poehler replied “Oh, I could get him”, before calling out: “Hey, Mr President.”

Sunglasses

Biden walked on stage as the band played the presidential anthem “Hail to the Chief” -- then briefly pretended to become lost on stage, parodying the occasional lapses he has made after giving speeches.

His comic turn won laughs from the audience, including when Biden put on his trademark aviator-style sunglasses to play up the “Dark Brandon” meme, which portrays America’s oldest president as a laser-eyed superhero.

But the interview also covered serious topics.

Meyers asked Biden why he had not supported an immediate ceasefire in Gaza despite saying that the Palestinian death toll from Israel’s offensive following the Hamas October 7 attacks was too high.

Biden said an agreement “in principle” was in reach for a temporary truce which would see Israel agree not to “engage in activities during Ramadan” in exchange for the release of hostages held by Hamas.

“I think that if we get that temporary ceasefire, we’re going to be able to move in a direction where we can change the dynamic” and move to a longer-term settlement, he added.

Biden also repeated his recent criticisms of Trump for recently suggesting he’d encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade NATO allies that did not meet their financial commitments.

As the show was recorded on Monday photographers and one reporter were briefly allowed in to take pictures during a commercial break while the audience cheered for the president.

Late-night shows remain a staple of US television, though their focus is now on creating social media clips that could go viral with younger viewers as much as on TV viewers at home.

Biden again ducked the president’s traditional Super Bowl TV interview earlier this month, instead making his debut on TikTok to try to target younger audiences on a platform that is officially considered a security risk by Washington. His team also produces a stream of lighter content for social media, hoping to draw in voters who avoid television news or news websites.

Biden has given interviews to YouTube stars and podcasters while president, as well as making occasional appearances on friendly TV shows.

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