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21 April, 2024
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Biden misnames Merkel and Macron, stumbles over words in gaffe-filled week

Mistakes dead leaders for living ones in recounting G7 summit


President Joe Biden has made a series of embarrassing slips of the tongue this week, confusing the names of dead and living world leaders and stumbling over his words.

On Wednesday, Biden referred to the late German chancellor Helmut Kohl instead of former chancellor Angela Merkel while recounting a conversation he said he had with European leaders at a G7 meeting in Cornwall, England, in 2021. The meeting took place months after the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Biden said that Kohl, who died in 2017, had asked him how he would react if he read about people storming the British parliament and killing officers "to stop the election of a prime minister". But it was Merkel who attended the summit as Germany's leader.

The mistake came days after Biden confused Francois Mitterrand, the former French president who died in 1996, for current president Emmanuel Macron. In a campaign speech in Las Vegas on Monday, Biden was telling the same story that he told on Wednesday, remarking on how the leaders of France and Germany reacted when they saw him at the G7 summit after the January 6 riots.

Recounting his exchange with Macron, he not only referred to him as Mitterand, but also initially said he was "from Germany", before quickly correcting himself. Mitterand served as president of France from 1981 to 1995.

Those comments came less than a day before he appeared to freeze while updating reporters on a potential hostage deal between Israel and Hamas. "There is some movement and I don't want to… choose my words," he said on Tuesday, speaking slowly.

"There is some movement, there has been a response from the… there has been a response from the opposition but, yes, I'm sorry, from Hamas, but it seems to be a little over the top." Biden has been criticized for his frequent verbal blunders and lapses in memory, which some have attributed to his age or cognitive decline. He is the oldest person to serve as president in U.S. history, at 81 years old.

More recent examples of his errors include mixing up pop stars Taylor Swift and Britney Spears in November while pardoning turkeys in a Thanksgiving ceremony, and referring to the All Blacks rugby team as the "Black and Tans" - a British paramilitary force that repressed opponents of British rule during the Irish War of Independence.

[With information sourced from Sky News]

Cyprus  |  Biden  |  mistake  |  dead  |  politics

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