The Republican lawmaker had bashed Biden on Twitter for not tweeting as much as Donald Trump, using “conventional” tweets, and not appearing on news programs. That “invites the question. Is he really in charge?” the senator tweeted.
Wallace asked: “Is that helpful to be sending out a tweet questioning President Biden’s mental faculties?”
That’s when Cornyn said the thoughts in his tweet weren’t actually his. He had lifted the comments from an article in Politico — without any quote marks or attribution. Then he tacked on his insinuating question.
In Cornyn’s actual words: “Well, Chris, thank you for the question, because I think there’s been a lot of confusion in the Twitterverse about that. That actually was a quote from a Politico story that I pasted into a tweet and then I simply asked a question.” (Check out the video above.)
Wallace pressed again: “Do you have questions as to whether Joe Biden is really in charge and whether, frankly, he’s up to the job?”
Cornyn again furiously backpedaled: “That tweet was not meant to suggest anything about the president’s competency — physical or mental. I know some people have suggested that, [and that] certainly wasn’t my intention. I simply tried to reconcile the rhetoric with the reality. And we need the reality to match the rhetoric, and it’s not matching right now.”
So, never mind.
Washington Post political reporter Aaron Blake last week slammed Cornyn’s “ugly bit of innuendo” in the tweet as more sinister than clueless. Blake argued that it’s part of a stealth narrative Republicans are pushing that Biden is somehow being manipulated by imagined nefarious actors, such as Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and the first woman of color to hold that position.
Critics on Twitter, however, found Cornyn more addled than sinister.