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Joe Biden, At DC’s Gridiron Dinner, Jokes About Donald Trump Before Getting Serious About Threat To Democracy

President Joe Biden, appearing at one of DC’s oldest traditions, the Gridiron Dinner, made some sharp quips about his rival Donald Trump but then turned serious about the threat that his rival poses to democracy.

The dinner tradition, which dates to the 19th century, is a white-tie night with journalists performing musical skits and politicians doing some of their own humor.

Biden directed his barbs at his own age and at his rival. “One candidate’s too old and mentally unfit to be president,” Biden said. “The other guy’s me.”

Biden noted that his student debt relief program “doesn’t apply to everyone. Just yesterday, a defeated-looking man came up and said, “I’m being crushed by debt. I’m completely wiped out.” I said, ‘Sorry, Donald I can’t help out.’”

There were many jokes about age throughout the evening.

Noting that Mitch McConnell was stepping down as GOP leader, Biden said, “I hate to see a friend give up in his prime.”

But he, like other speakers, ended their bits on a serious note.

“As I said in my State of the Union address, we live in an unprecedented moment of democracy — an unprecedented moment in history,” Biden said. “Democracy and freedom are literally under attack. Putin’s on the march in Europe. My predecessor bows down to him and says, ‘Do whatever the hell you want.’”

Biden added, “Good journalism holds a mirror up to a country for us to reflect the good, the bad and the truth about who we are.”

Biden said to the journalism crowd, “It is not hyperbole. We need you. Democracy is at risk and the American people need to know. In fractured times, they need a context and perspective.“

He added, “Every single one of us has a role to play in making sure American democracy endures. This year, you, the free press, have a bigger role than ever. Let me state the obvious: You are not the enemy of the people. You are a pillar of any free society.”

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