On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted a 13-second clip from The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, with no further context. The video showed Rogan poking fun at former Vice President Joe Biden and joking that he would be a lousy president if he won in November. Trump tweeted the video himself, indicating that he sought it out, clipped it, and posted it.
"Biden, to me, is like having a flashlight with a dying battery and going for a long hike in the woods. It is not going to work out," Rogan said in the clip. "It's not going to make it." As he spoke, guest Matt Taibbi laughed at the analogy, and Rogan looked upward as if making up the details off the top of his head. Trump's tweet of the clip picked up over 60,000 likes and over 17,000 retweets within one hour.
So far, Rogan has not responded to the president's tweet, which apparently takes his words as an endorsement for Trump. This moment is not the first time Rogan's comments have been taken out of context and used to divine the results of the 2020 presidential election — his podcast is massively popular, with an audience that politicians are eager to get ahold of.
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump had retweeted a post with the same "flashlight" quote about Biden in text form, and then later, he retweeted a clip of Rogan interviewing boxer Mike Tyson. However, if Trump had included the full context of this quote, it would not have seemed so favorable towards him.
In the full 2-hour podcast, Rogan followed his "flashlight" analogy by pointing out that Biden is "not much older than Trump." He impugned both of them for their age, implying that their cognitive function is ailing and neither is fit for office. He joked that to compete, Biden should "get on the same pills" as Trump, referencing the rumor that Trump uses the amphetamine-based ADHD medication Adderall recreationally.
Rogan made headlines earlier in this campaign season for openly endorsing Bernie Sanders. Seen by many as a more Libertarian-leaning pundit, Rogan even said that he would vote for Trump over Biden once Sanders left the race. In April, he clarified this position further, saying: "Let me be clear, I'd also vote for Whoopi Goldberg over Joe Biden, I'd vote for Mike Tyson over Joe Biden... It's not an endorsement of Trump, it is me saying 'you shouldn't have a man who is clearly in the throes of dementia [as the Democratic nominee].'"
Still, whether Rogan intended it or not, Trump is taking these quotes as endorsements, and as Rogan predicted months ago, he is targeting Biden's cognitive abilities in his campaign ads. Trump is currently falling behind Rogan in the polls.