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Biden Calls Out Donald ‘Sleepy Don’ Trump During White House Correspondents’ Dinner

4 minute read

President Joe Biden called out Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday in Washington D.C., making fun of the former President’s legal troubles and both of the 2024 election candidates’ ages. 

Biden is 81 and Trump 77, making them the oldest major party presidential nominees in history. Both men are battling public perceptions about their age and competency—and seizing upon one another’s weaknesses in the race for the White House.

Biden began by mocking Trump after journalists reported that the former President appeared to fall asleep last week in Manhattan court during a criminal trial against him. Trump is facing felony charges that he falsified business records to cover up a hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

“Sleepy Don, I kind of like that, I may use it again,” Biden quipped. 

Biden went on to mention the 2024 election and acknowledged: “And yes, age is an issue. I’m a grown man running against a six-year-old.” 

Trump has similarly mocked Biden’s age over the years, calling the President “Sleepy Joe” because of Biden’s verbal blunders. Biden in the past called himself a “gaffe machine,” but has forcefully pushed back against a characterization of him in a special counsel report in February as a “well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.”

“Age is the only thing we have in common,” Biden said about his opponent in his speech Saturday. “My Vice President actually endorses me,” he quipped, referencing how former Vice President Mike Pence, who did not support Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, is not endorsing Trump in 2024.

Biden said he has had a “great stretch” since his State of the Union address in March. Trump, however, has had a “few tough days lately.”

“You might call it stormy weather,” the President remarked, in reference to the name of the adult film star whose accusations are the center of the ongoing criminal trial against Trump.

In the rest of his speech, Biden called on the media to move past distractions during election coverage, said journalism was not a crime, and promised that the U.S. was doing everything it could to free Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is classified by the U.S. as wrongfully detained in Russia.

“There are some who call you the ‘enemy of the people,’” Biden said, in reference to Trump’s previous attacks on journalists using the phrase. “That’s wrong and that’s dangerous. You literally risk your lives doing your job.”

It’s tradition for the President to attend and speak at the annual dinner for the White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents hundreds of journalists covering the White House, although Trump did not do so when he served as President.

This year, amid the Israel-Hamas war, around 400 protesters gathered outside the dinner to protest the Biden Administration’s position on the war and media coverage of it, according to a coalition of activist groups who organized the protest. The war has killed 1,200 people in Israel, according to the Israeli government, and more than 34,000 Palestinians, per Gaza’s health ministry. The death toll includes at least 97 journalists, 92 of them Palestinian, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Video provided by the organizers shows protesters marching into the Washington Hilton hotel, where the event was held, chanting “Media, media, when you lie, journalists in Gaza die” and carrying a banner that read “Biden’s legacy is genocide.”

The protest followed a group of journalists in Gaza releasing an open letter on April 15 calling for the media to boycott the event.

“As Palestinian journalists, we urgently appeal to you, our colleagues globally, with a demand for immediate and unwavering action against the Biden Administration’s ongoing complicity in the systematic slaughter and persecution of journalists in Gaza,” the letter read. 

Journalist Mehdi Hasan—who recently left MSNBC after his show was canceled and started his own media organization Zeteo—heeded the call to boycott, posting on X (formerly Twitter) that although he had attended the dinner for the past two years, he would not do so this year in solidarity with Gaza journalists.

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