CNN's Lemon says his job to question Biden's mental fitness, as Democrats ponder 2024

The CNN host recently asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the president's physical and mental fitness, which she laughed off.

Updated: June 16, 2022 - 12:33pm

CNN host Don Lemon is defending his recent line of questioning to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about President Biden's ability to continue leading – as the 79-year-old commander in chief deals with a series of second-year challenges including record-high inflation. 

Lemon made his argument on the cable TV network's "New Day" show, on which he discussed Jean-Pierre dismissing his question about the president's mental fitness – following a report in The New York Times about Democratic Party leaders concerned about the president's ability to lead the country now and through 2028, should he seek and win reelection in 2024.

"Does the president have the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?" Lemon asked Jean-Pierre.

"Don, you're asking me this question, Oh my gosh," responded Jean-Pierre, who just weeks ago was promoted to press secretary. "He's the president of the United States. ... This is not a question that we should be even asking."

She also in her response called details in The Times report "salacious" and "hearsay."

Lemon said that it was his job to ask such questions and Jean-Pierre's job to answer them on behalf of the administration.

People should understand the "health, history, both physically and mentally" of the president of the U.S., said Lemon.

He also said the news media "certainly" questioned former President Trump's physical and mental fitness during his term.

The CNN host argued that many people have said Biden "has trouble sometimes connecting and his answers sometimes don't make sense." 

President Barack Obama's former adviser David Axelrod told The Times that Biden's age is going to be a "major issue" heading into 2024.