Is JOE BIDEN Too Old For A Second Term As U.S. President? GENE SIMMONS Weighs InMarch 19, 2023
During a recent episode of "Piers Morgan Uncensored", KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons and former talk show host and politician Jerry Springer took part in a debate over whether Joe Biden is too old to run again for U.S. president.
Biden, now 80, became the oldest living president the day he was sworn into office. He would be 82 at the start of a second term, and 86 at its end.
Asked by host Piers Morgan if Biden should be able to run again for president at his age, Simmons said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "No, I don't think so. And that doesn't mean that I agree or don't agree with the politics. Politics aside, there should be a test to find out if somebody has their wits about them, number one. You're talking about the most powerful person on Earth. And also to find out whether or not somebody is absolutely nuts. There should be a qualification, a medical qualification and psychological qualification that somebody in charge isn't just going to go nuts and go like that or fall down the stairs when they try to go up on Air Force One."
Gene also suggested that the public no longer votes for the best candidate, picking personality over policies and therefore believes Biden's age might put people off.
"Look, let's call it for what it is," Simmons said. "I'm on both sides of the fence about all sorts of political issues, so you can't call me a rabid Democrat or conservative or liberal or any of that. I'm everybody's worst enemy 'cause I simply vote on the issues. But let's call it the way it is. The masses, I don't believe for a second, vote on political platform. They wouldn't be able to explain to you anything. It is invariably and intrinsically, and other big words like gymnasium, the cult of personality. When people saw Nixon with his five o'clock shadow before any of you were born — it was a TV debate between Kennedy and Nixon — and he had the five o'clock shadow. Nobody remembers what they stood for or who was a Democrat; they just didn't like that guy who looked like Uncle Joe who's drinking a little too much. So when people watch [former U.S. president Donald] Trump, who we both know, they have their perception, and when people watch Mr. Biden, and we've all seen him on TV and stuff, unfortunately, sometimes turning around to shake hands with people who aren't there or mumbling words. That doesn't mean I agree or don't agree with the politics. People will judge this following political battle based on personality. I have not met regular people who've been able to explain to me what the different political platforms are. So I believe Mr. Biden is in deep trouble [if he runs again]."
Gene added: "I just wanna say one one last thing very quickly. If I was on the other side, Mr. Trump's side — and I may not be, actually; I have lots of problems with him — somebody is gonna put together a greatest hits of Mr. Biden falling off bicycles, falling on the stairs, and not even talk about politics — not even talk about politics. And that person will win."
According to NPR, a recent Associated Press poll found that, despite Biden's lengthy list of legislative accomplishments and his party's historically strong showing in last year's midterms, just 37% of Democrats want the incumbent Democrat to run for reelection, with many voters saying Biden's age is a factor.
Biden, who works out five days a week, is fit and healthy, according to his recently completed annual physical. Dr. Kevin O'Connor said in his summary of the exam that "the president remains fit for duty, and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations."
Gene previously discussed his views on Trump, on whose "The Celebrity Apprentice" show he was once a contestant, during a November 2022 appearance on Bill Maher's "Club Random" podcast.
"For the record, when [Trump] first ran in 2016 and got elected, I was happy," Gene said. "I knew the guy from before then, seeing him in clubs and stuff like that. And for the record, he had Bill and Hillary [Clinton] at his wedding and Howard Stern went to his wedding. He's not a politician. But my point, I wanna say for the record, and people will tell you who know me, 'Oh, yeah, Gene was happy that Trump won.' I was. I didn't want Hillary [to be president]. I thought, 'Oh, a businessman is coming in. He understands how to run things.'"
When Maher pointed out that Trump doesn't understand how government works and doesn't care to learn, Gene said: "I agree. The person that I saw first coming into power is not the person I saw within a year or two of that… But I changed, the way lots of people changed."
Gene went on to question Biden's fitness for the job at age 80.
"I thought Biden was gonna come in and be a major force," Simmons said. "I've got some big reservations about the man — not about his ethics and morality, but just about his physical ability to do all that."
After Bill expressed his surprise at Gene's "ageism," which refers to stereotypes, prejudice and/or discriminatory actions or practices against older persons that are based on their chronological age or on a perception that the person is "old," Simmons fired back with: "I am an ageist. I am an ageist, depending on the vibrancy and the mental alertness of what you've got. There's a certain age you can't look at a person and not say, 'Okay, you're X number of years old. Now, how sharp are you?' You're talking about the most powerful person on the planet… I'm not talking about policy. Communication skills are flat. There is such a thing as the cult of personality. And I like the man, but the ability to communicate a message is nil."
When Maher countered that Simmons is implying that words are more important than the deeds, Gene said: "Initially, yes. Because the first impression you have of a female walking up to you before you talk with her is the impression. And then you find out where and who and what she [is like]. As a male, you understand that. And the first impression I have of somebody coming on screen is the Nixon-Kennedy debate. [People] weren't listening to what the debate was all about. Nobody understands political platforms. All they saw was the five o'clock shadow of Nixon and the little beads of sweat. That's all they remember. And Kennedy was a good-looking guy who was able to put a sentence together. Do people remember what the political differences were? Not in the least."
Elsewhere during the chat, Gene went on to say that he is one of the more than sixty percent of the U.S. electorate which doesn't necessarily identify with a major party.
"Generally speaking, I'm a centrist," he said. "I don't like AOC [New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and I'm not a fan of [Vermont senator] Bernie [Sanders], but I think they're both fine people. I do like [Utah senator] Mitt Romney and [Wyoming congressperson] Miss [Liz] Cheney, I do like that, and both sides hate you for saying those things, because they both want you to align yourself with what the marching orders are. 'If you're a Democrat, it means this. You're a progressive.' I'm not a progressive. I know that business has to involve people who don't agree with you."
This was not the first time Simmons had been critical of Trump. Last May, he told SPIN: "I know the previous [U.S.] president," he said. "I knew him before he entered politics. Look what that gentleman did to this country and the polarization — got all the cockroaches to rise to the top. Once upon a time, you were embarrassed to be publicly racist and out there with conspiracy theories. Now it's all out in the open because he allowed it."
Simmons went on to say that he and Trump "knew each other" before "The Celebrity Apprentice", "in clubs and all that. You have a different responsibility when you're just a citizen or an entrepreneur," he added. "You don't make policy. It doesn't affect life and death. When you get into a position of power, it does affect lives.
"I don't think he's a Republican or a Democrat," Gene said of Trump. "He's out for himself, any way you can get there. And in the last election, over 70 million people bought it hook, line and sinker.
"The current president [Joe Biden], I like the ethics and morality — not a charismatic guy, unfortunately. The first word I keep hearing from people, even friends is 'feeble.' I don't think he should run next time. So then who's around? There are no stars and invariably people vote for stars, not even what they believe in. The cult of personality. Americans are star obsessed: 'Kylie's got a new lip gloss? Fuck!'"
Simmons previously touched upon his feelings about the Trump presidency in August 2021 while speaking to Yahoo!'s Lyndsey Parker about the negative response he gets from some of his fans every time he shares his pro-vaccine stance on Twitter.
"It's been politicized," he said. "The gentleman who was in office, the former president [Donald Trump], I knew before the political world. It's the same person I knew before; the stripes of a tiger don't change. And the unfortunate thing is that… Look, we all lie to some extent, but what happened the last four years was beyond anything I ever thought imaginable from people who had lots of power — not just him, but the administration, everybody. And unfortunately, that disease — The Big Lie notwithstanding — has really infected a large portion of the population."
Asked to elaborate on his comment that Trump is "the same person" he knew when he was a contestant on Trump's "The Celebrity Apprentice" series, Gene said: "We were in a restaurant together, and I happened to be with an attractive young lady. And he walked up and said, 'Hey, Gene, you and I, we're exactly the same. We like the hot chicks.' That was a strange thing to say, but yeah, I guess that's true. But I think it's the same person. And maybe that was the appeal and continues to be. People are sick and tired of politically correct language and stuff.
"In a political dialogue, if somebody spews complete fiction and QAnon stuff, you wanna be able to have somebody who says, 'Are you out of your fucking mind? Did you just shit your diapers and forget to wipe it?'" Simmons added. "We're looking for that politician who just says instead of watching your language. Because the other side will spew garbage and lies and everything."
Back in 2019, Simmons said that Trump had "forever changed" politics. He added that "earth has never been in better shape" than it was in the summer of 2019. "I know — climate change and a polarized political thing — but there are no more world wars," he stated at the time. "I mean, imagine what London looked like 60 years ago. This is the best of times. Unemployment in the United States is the lowest it's been in 50 years — 5-0. When I rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange at their behest, the Dow [Jones Industrial Average] was about 8,000. It's almost 27,000 today. More people are working. More people are making more money. Unions are more powerful."
In the past, Gene had defended Trump's occasional off-color remarks and frequently outrageous statements, saying: "I don't know anybody here who hasn't said stupid things publicly or privately. You've said potty words and so have I. So I'm gonna give the guy who was duly elected a chance to show us what he can do, and then I'll judge his legacy."
Simmons said that he "didn't necessarily vote for Trump or [Hillary] Clinton" in the 2016 presidential election, adding that "it's really nobody's damn business" whom he voted for. "I think you'd be surprised by my choice — but he's President Trump, because even if you don't like the man, you must respect the office of the presidency and the will of the Electoral College," he said.
In 2017, Simmons confirmed that KISS was invited to perform at Trump's inauguration but turned it down because it was "not a good idea."
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