Fox News hosts appeared visibly uncomfortable when the president’s lawyer began launching baseless claims about former Vice President Joe Biden in an interview with the conservative network’s morning show on Tuesday, alleging without evidence the Democratic presidential nominee "has dementia" and adding: "There's no doubt about it."
Rudy Giuliani seemed to ramp up Donald Trump’s attacks against his Democratic opponent just hours before the first of the presidential debates, taking the president’s claims that Mr Biden was not mentally fit and offering his own diagnosis despite not actually being a doctor or having any professional experience in medicine, health or science.
“The man has dementia,” Mr Giuliani said, leaving the network’s morning show hosts completely silent. “There’s no doubt about it.”
The former New York City mayor claimed he “talked to doctors” and “had them look at a hundred different tapes of his” to create the false diagnosis.
In reality, Mr Giuliani accidentally tweeted an apparent Google search on dementia just last month, writing in a public post, “Does dsm have 5 definitions of dementia and”, before he deleted the tweet.
— Rutherford B. Goode (@RPDtweets) August 18, 2020
Shortly after, he posted a photo of himself reading the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and wrote in a caption: “Currently doing research on a major exposé. This will completely shake the 2020 Presidential election. Stay tuned."
In July, Mr Giuliani also tweeted out a poll for his more than 750,000 Twitter followers in which he asked: “Do you believe Joe Biden is displaying signs of dementia?”
The Biden campaign has shot down attacks against the former vice president’s mental fitness as weak attempts to undermine the Democratic nominee before the November vote.
Mr Biden has also rebuked the claims made by Mr Trump and his allies, saying during an interview with ABC News in response to the president’s accusations that he wasn’t fit to serve in the White House: “Watch me.”
“Look at us both,” the former vice president told the news outlet alongside his running mate, Kamala Harris. “Look at us both. Look at us both, what we say, what we do, what we control, what we know, what kind of shape we're in.”
Do you believe Joe Biden is displaying signs of dementia?
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) July 17, 2020
Currently doing research on a major exposé. This will completely shake the 2020 Presidential election. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/5QvSgbNwXL
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) August 18, 2020
By Tuesday morning, as Mr Trump and Mr Biden were set to face off in their first debate of the 2020 election cycle, the president’s lawyer was attempting to confirm his own conspiracies without tangible evidence.
Fox News host Steve Doocy cut in and said “the Biden people say he’s fine”, causing Mr Giuliani to respond with claims that Mr Biden “can’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance” and “was in the senate for 160 years”.
“He actually displays symptoms that two gerontologists told me are classic symptoms of middle-level dementia,” Mr Giuliani said.
“Right”, Mr Doocy responded.
“Right”, Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt also said.
After Mr Giuliani began supporting the president’s claims that Mr Biden was taking performance enhancers at the debates, Mr Doocy finally acknowledged “none of us are doctors” and said: “This is just — that’s your opinion.”
Ms Earhardt also interrupted Mr Giuliani as he began to assert the false claims were not just his opinion, moving on to the subject of the Supreme Court.