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Biden’s biggest gaffes: Muddling up wars, dozing off mid-event and a series of tumbles


President Joe Biden is kicking off his first full day of his trip abroad this week with a visit to the UK where he will meet with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles III.

The president landed in London on Sunday night ahead of Monday’s meeting with Mr Sunak, where the two leaders will discuss a range of topics including the war in Ukraine and will seek to bolster the US-UK “special relationship”.

After that, he is heading to Windsor to meet the King – after infamously snubbing his coronation back in May.

From there, the president will travel to Vilnius, Lithuania, for a meeting of NATO leaders.

While Ukraine – and the US’s recent controversial decision to send cluster munitions to help in the war efforts – is expected to dominate conversations among the leaders, all eyes will also be on the president’s actions.

Mr Biden has a well-documented history of embarrassing gaffes – something he admits, having once referred to himself as a “gaffe machine”.

The president, 80, has a speech impediment which is often blamed for his verbal gaffes on the world stage.

However, his string of verbal – and physical – slip-ups have been seized upon by his political rivals, in particular Donald Trump, who have sought to claim that they are a sign of a lack of mental competence.

Whatever the reason, it’s undeniable that Mr Biden has become notorious for his blunders from muddling up leaders and wars to a series of trips and falls.

As all eyes turn to his actions during his visit to the UK, here are some of his most notable gaffes to date:

Muddling up the wars in Ukraine and Iraq

In another infamous slip-up in June 2023, the president muddled up the ongoing war in Ukraine for the Iraq War, which ended in 2011.

Mr Biden was speaking to reports on the south lawn of the White House before heading to Chicago when he was asked whether he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin had been weakened by the Wagner Group’s mutiny.

Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin had briefly led a rebellion marching towards Moscow.

Mr Biden responded by saying that Mr Putin was “clearly losing the war in Iraq”.

“It’s hard to tell, but [Putin’s] clearly losing the war in Iraq, losing the war at home. And he has become a bit of a pariah around the world,” he said.

Joe Biden says Putin is ‘losing the war in Iraq’

‘God save the Queen’

That same month, Mr Biden made another verbal gaffe when he bizarrely closed out a speech on gun control with the proclamation: “God save the Queen, man.”

The president was speaking to a group of gun control advocates at the National Safer Communities Summit in Connecticut at the time.

The slip-up raised eyebrows as to who he was referring to.

Was it Queen Elizabeth II who died in September 2022? Or was it Queen Camilla who was crowned just one month earlier when King Charles III took the throne in a coronation that Mr Biden famously snubbed?

The White House later sought to explain away the bizarre reference by saying that he was merely “commenting to someone in the crowd”.

Biden says ‘God save the Queen’ as he wraps up his gun safety speech

‘Mr President?’

The last time Mr Biden and Mr Sunak met, the US president accidentally called him by his own moniker: “Mr President.”

The UK PM travelled to Washington DC for a two-day trip in early June where the two leaders held a meeting in the Oval Office White House.

As they smiled for photos, Mr Biden said: “Well, Mr President…”

Quickly correcting himself, he added: “I just demoted you, Mr Prime Minister.”

The two laughed off the slip-up and continued with their meeting.

Joe Biden mistakingly calls Rishi Sunak ‘Mr President’

Biden tumbles on stage at Air Force Graduation

Mr Biden took a rather large tumble while on stage at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony in early June.

The president delivered the commencement address at the event and stayed on stage as graduates were handed their diplomas.

As he walked off, he then stumbled and fell to the ground.

He was helped up by Air Force officials and appeared to point at a sandbag as the culprit responsible for the mishap.

White House communications director Ben LaBolt later tweeted that he was “fine” and that “there was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands”.

Joe Biden falls at the Air Force Graduation

This is far from the only time Mr Biden has taken a tumble.

Napping at COP26

In a video that went viral on social media, Mr Biden was caught sleeping on the job at the COP26 climate change conference in Scotland in November 2021.

In the clip, the president was seen appearing to nap during the opening remarks at the climate event – with his eyes shut at one point for more than 20 seconds.

An aide was seen popping over and nudging him from his apparent slumber.


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