President Biden drew immediate online reaction after once again confusing the names of foreign political leaders, this time while trying to emphasize his mental fitness.
The president gave a brief address to the nation from the White House Thursday night where he took a barrage of questions from reporters regarding concerns over his age and memory stemming from the Special Counsel report. Shortly after insisting that his memory was “fine,” he proceeded to refer to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the “president of Mexico.”
“As you know, initially, the president of Mexico Sisi [sic] did not want to open up the gate to allow humanitarian material to get in [to Gaza]. I talked to him. I convinced him to open the gate,” Biden said.
The irony of this mix-up coming right after he defended his memory struck many social media users.
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“He got the president of Mexico to open the gate for refugees from Gaza? Dear God. Whoever thought this was a good idea should be fired,” America First Policy Institute communications officer Marc Lotter wrote.
New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser exclaimed, “Yeesh. ‘President of Mexico’ Sisi. Bad for Biden in an appearance meant to dispel concerns about his age. What a year this day has been.”
“So Sisi is the president of Mexico,” New York Post columnist John Podhertz joked.
North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop summarized, “If this speech was meant to assuage voters’ concerns about his age and mental state, it failed miserably. It was hard to watch.”
“Yeah, he really nailed the bit when he called el-Sisi the president of Mexico,” Washington Free Beacon investigative reporter Chuck Ross said in response to New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait saying, “That is a pretty effective performance by Biden.”
“This is the danger of a live press conference denying problems with mental acuity. Pres. Biden just referred to the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi as the president of Mexico,” RealClearPolitics correspondent Susan Crabtree explained.
Conservative commentator Viva Frei wrote, “It seems @POTUS thinks he’s been negotiating with the President of Mexico to allow aid in to Gaza. What a way to show Putin and the world that he is not a demented and incompetent old man.”
“Disaster presser for Joe Biden just now. He said his memory is fine then confused the leaders of Mexico and Egypt. He’s lost it. This is hard to watch. Legit 25th amendment time. Not sure he can make it 11 more months to finish his term,” Outkick founder Clay Travis declared.
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When reached for a comment, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates referred Digital to a post from The Atlantic staff writer Yair Rosenberg.
“Biden has gaffed names his entire career. In 2008, he introduced his running mate as ‘the next president of the United States, Barack America.’ He was clearly talking about Egypt, named Sisi, and laid out his policy and the broader issues in detail. Twitter just isn’t interested,” Rosenberg wrote, along with a video of House Speaker Mike Johnson mixing up Israel and Iran on Sunday.
The address came just hours after Special Counsel Robert Hur released his report, which did not recommend criminal charges against the president for mishandling classified documents. Those records included classified documents about military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, among other records related to national security and foreign policy which Hur said implicated “sensitive intelligence sources and methods.”
Hur, though, described Biden as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Hur, throughout the more than 300-page report, said “it would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him” of a serious felony “that requires a mental state of willfulness,” and said Biden would be “well into his eighties” by then.
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The gaffe was also the third time this week that Biden had publicly confused the names of world leaders. On Sunday, he claimed to have met with François Mitterrand, a French president who died in 1996, at his first Group of Seven (G7) meeting in 2021. On Wednesday, Biden recalled speaking with the late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, despite Kohl dying in 2017, at that same G7 meeting.
‘ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.