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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – President Joe Biden had another confused moment this week when he answered a question about an immigration regulation by discussing mask mandates on airplanes.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention announced plans to end the Title 42 public health authority, which has facilitated quick deportation of illegals during a pandemic and revocation of which is expected to drastically expand the number of illegal border crossers per day by the thousands, further exacerbating an ongoing crisis at the United States’ southern border.

Even some Democrats have pushed back against the move, prompting speculation that the administration may reconsider. Asked Thursday, “Are you considering delaying Title 42?” Biden appeared to mistake it for an unrelated yet similarly controversial policy.

“No, what I’m considering is continuing to hear from my, first of all, there’s going to be an appeal by the Justice Department because as a matter of principle, we want to be able to be in a position where if in fact it is strongly concluded by the scientists that we need Title 42, that we be able to do that,” he responded, apparently referencing the federal transportation mask mandate recently struck down by a federal judge. “But there has been no decision on extending Title 42.”

“I want to clarify that, in comments at the conclusion of my remarks this morning, I was referring to the CDC’s mask mandate and there is no Department of Justice action on Title 42,” Biden said in a follow-up statement to Fox News. The White House further noted that White House press secretary Jen Psaki said as recently as Wednesday that “we are planning and preparing for the end of Title 42 enforcement on May 23rd.”

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For the moment, the administration appears to be digging in its heels on both policies, filing an appeal Thursday to reinstate the mask mandate and an appeal Friday asking a judge to deny a request by 21 states to block Title 42 repeal.

Biden has been famously gaffe-prone throughout his decades in politics, but in recent years the increasing frequency of odd, incoherent, and confused statements from the former senator and vice president, as well as the frequency with which he ended his daily campaign schedule by noon or earlier, sparked a marked increase in speculation from friends and foes alike as to whether his mind has deteriorated with old age, so much so that during the 2020 campaign, Biden pledged only to serve one term “if anything changed in my health” to render him mentally incapable of the job.

In February, Trump-era White House physician Ronny Jackson, who is now a Republican U.S. House member from Texas, sent Biden a letter urging him to “under[go] a cognitive test as soon as possible and immediately mak[e] the results available for the American people,” citing several public instances in which Jackson argued Biden exhibited signs of mental decline.

Biden has said he expects to run for a second term in 2024, but many remain doubtful. Whether or not the 2024 nomination would go to Vice President Kamala Harris, who faces her own tensions and doubts among her fellow Democrats, may depend in part on whether Biden resigns the presidency to her before completing his full term.