Joe Biden’s rambling speech cut off by White House staff

A “rambling” press conference by Joe Biden on Sunday night in Vietnam at the end of an Asia trip was abruptly cut short by the White House staff, leaving many in the audience puzzled.

“We talked about stability, we talked about making sure the Third World… excuse me… the Southern Hemisphere has access to change… It wasn’t confrontational at all…” the 80-year-old US president said as he began to trail off.

His press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre cut in decisively: “Thank you, everybody. This ends the press conference. Thanks, everyone.” Mr Biden made his exit from the stage, but not before his microphone was abruptly muted and the speakers started to play jazz music while he continued to address reporters unaware that he was inaudible.

The bizarre turn of events did not go unnoticed. “Joe Biden’s staff cut his mic in the middle of a sentence during a press conference Who is really in charge?” asked Benny Johnson of The New York Times.

“Joe Biden’s staff cuts off a rambling Joe Biden mid-sentence and abruptly ends his news conference. I have never seen this occur with any other president,” wrote Andrew, senior political analyst from Don’t Walk, Run! Productions.

Mike Kimelman said: “Biden yesterday in Vietnam before the G20. Rambling incoherently to preselected questions, doing the whisper thing and then stumbles off state shouting, ‘I’m going to bed’.”

“I’m going to go to bed,” the US president said during the press conference while addressing reporters.

Earlier, Mr Biden refused to accept that there was an ongoing “cold war” between the US and China.

“I just want to make sure that we have a relationship with China that is on the up and up, squared away, everybody knows what it’s all about,” Mr Biden said on Sunday after he landed in Hanoi as part of his landmark visit to Vietnam.

He told reporters that there was no “cold war” brewing between the giants, adding: “It’s about generating economic growth and stability.”

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“I want to see China succeed economically, but I want to see them succeed by the rules,” Mr Biden added.

His statement came days after the Chinese foreign ministry called on the US to “abandon the cold-war mentality and zero-sum game mindset” in its view of Asia.

However, during the G20 weekend in India, Chinese premier Li Qiang reportedly meet Mr Biden on the sidelines and urged the American leader to see the possibilities that his nation offers.

Mr Li, who kept a low profile at the summit, “stressed that China’s development is an opportunity for the US, not a challenge”, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning.

Mr Biden said the two discussed “stability” and that it “wasn’t confrontational at all”.

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, and Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong hold a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi


But the G20 weekend is over and Mr Biden’s visit to Vietnam is likely to irk China – one of the key partners of the Southeast Asian country.

Mr Biden is the first American president to visit Communist Vietnam since the end of the war in 1970s to elevate bilateral relationship amid China’s rising aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Vietnam and the United States are critical partners at what I would argue is a very critical time,” Mr Biden said, as Washington looks to tap into the Vietnamese workforce as an alternative to Chinese factories.

At a fundraiser in Salt Lake City, Mr Biden said that Vietnam doesn’t want a defence alliance with the US, instead they were looking for “relationships because they want China to know that they’re not alone”.

Vietnam has been one of the few Southeast Asian countries to push back against China’s absolute claims on the South China Sea. To counter Beijing, Vietnam is looking westward to forge stronger bilateral trade ties.

The US president spoke extensively about strengthening Vietnam’s semiconductor industry a executives of top American and Vietnamese firms met on Monday.

“My message today is quite simple. Let’s keep it up,” Mr Biden told the chief executives. “We need to develop and drive our collaboration, We need to forge new partnerships.”

Semiconductors have been at the heart of the US-China trade war with Washington reducing Chinese access to advanced chipmaking and other technology they say might be used in weapon.

During Mr Biden’s visit, Vietnam Airlines signed a $7.5bn deal with US-based Boeing to buy about 50 aircraft and Arizona-based Amkor Technology’s has planned to invest $1.6bn for a factory in Bac Ninh Province.

The White House said the administration would help “build Vietnamese capacity to fight regional and international transnational crime”, including targeting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. China has been locked in long-running territorial conflicts with Vietnam, along with the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as Beijing claims waters in the other nations’ exclusive economic zone.

Mr Biden ended his trip at the John Sidney McCain III Memorial near where, as a 31-year-old Navy lieutenant commander, his Skyhawk dive bomber was shot down by the North Vietnamese.

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