'You Think I’m Kidding?': Biden Starts Conference After Nashville Shooting With a Joke
03:47 GMT 28.03.2023 (Updated: 19:26 GMT 28.03.2023)
© AP Photo / Andrew HarnikUS President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to Canada on March 24, 2023.
© AP Photo / Andrew Harnik
During a White House press conference after the Nashville tragedy, President Biden began his speech with a humorous remark about his love for Jeni's ice cream, specifically the chocolate chip flavor. He stated that he had only come to the gathering because he had heard there would be ice cream.
However, the president quickly shifted gears and addressed the tragic shooting that occurred at a Nashville elementary school earlier that day, which claimed the lives of six individuals, including three students and three staff members. Biden expressed his condolences and emphasized the importance of banning assault weapons, urging Congress to take action.
After this solemn moment, Biden circled back to the topic of ice cream and praised Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, expressing his fondness for their chocolate chip flavor. He went on to say that he had a freezer full of it upstairs and reminisced about the taste. The president acknowledged that he was now known for two things, chocolate chip ice cream and Ray-Ban sunglasses, which he found amusing.
Biden was speaking to the Small Business Association Women's Business Summit, an event planned before the shooting took place. However, it was Biden's only public appearance scheduled for the day, prompting critics to say that it was an inappropriate time to take a jovial tone.
Despite Biden's attempt at humor, some critics may use this moment to question his age and fitness for a second term as president. Rep. Ronny Jackson, who previously served as the presidential physician for both Donald Trump and Barack Obama, criticized the White House for not disclosing whether Biden received a cognitive exam during his annual physical.
Jackson expressed concern over the president's mental acuity, citing instances where he appeared confused or made false claims.
"The physician to the president, Kevin O’Connor, owes it to the country to step up to the plate right now and stand up before the press and answer all the hard questions," said Jackson. "They are going to be asked, 'Did he get a cognitive exam done?' The answer is going to be no because either they’re not going to do a cognitive exam, or they’re going to do one and not let the American people know what the results were."
In response, Biden's supporters argue that his age is not a determining factor in his ability to lead the country. However, with Biden being the oldest, 80, incumbent president, some episodes of his behavior might be confusing:
On June 3, 2021, in his speech about fighting coronavirus and vaccination, he mixed up the number of months. "Since January 20, we're talking about 15 months, the average daily cases has downed from 184,000 to 19,000," is what the US president said, even though only 5 months had passed since the beginning of January.
On June 10, 2021, Biden was addressing the US military at Mildenhall Base in Britain, where he mispronounced the acronym for the Royal Air Force, RAF. Instead, he said "RFA," which occasionally might stand for "really f****** annoying."
On September 16, 2021, Biden, in a online meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, seemed to forget his name. Boris Johnson was also at that meeting via video link, to whom the American leader said: "Thank you, Boris." Then Biden turned to Morrison, waited a couple of seconds and sayed: "I want to thank this guy down here. Thank you very much, friend. I appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister."
On March 2, 2022, Biden misspoke and confused Ukrainians with Iranians during a speech to the US Congress: "[Russian President Vladimir] Putin can circle Kiev with tanks, but he will never gain the hearts and souls of Iranians."
On June 24, 2022, at a meeting with representatives of the wind energy industry, Biden mistakenly turned over a sheet of paper in his hands, and it turned out to be a cheat sheet. It contained a step-by-step outline of all the actions the US president should take at the meeting.
On April 3, 2022, he appeared to doze off at the nuclear submarine commissioning ceremony. At the same event, he also named Michelle Obama vice president of the US.
On April 5, 2022, Biden was then speaking in North Carolina, where he talked about his dead father. At the end of the speech, he turned his back to everyone in the audience and tried to shake someone's hand. Finding no one there, he left the podium.
On April 23, 2022, during his tour of the country, he said goodbye to the audience. After that he, turned around with his hand outstretched for a handshake. But there was no one behind him.
On July 13, 2022, the President of the US, during a visit to Israel, misspoke by promising to keep the truth about the "honor" (instead of "horror") of the Holocaust. However, he immediately corrected himself.
On July 16, 2022, at a summit in Saudi Arabia, he said he honored the selfishness of American soldiers (but, again, corrected his mistake), "We’ll always honor the bravery and selfishness — selflessness of the — and sacrifices of the Americans who served..."
On August 9, 2022, at an event at the White House, the Democratic majority leader of the upper house of Congress, Chuck Schumer, shook hands with those on stage, including Joe Biden, after an opening statement. He responded by extending his hand a second time, but to an empty space and stood like that for a while.
Biden forgot twice about how his youngest son Beau died. In his speeches on October 13 and November 1, 2022, he claimed that his son died in Iraq, even though Beau Biden died in 2015 in the US from brain cancer.
On October 18, 2022, the US president was leaving a press conference when he heard a reporter ask about private loans in the US. Biden stopped and froze in an unnatural pose. His aide hastily answered this question and then they quickly left the room.
In September 2022, Biden tried to find Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), a member of Congress who died in August. It had previously been claimed that Biden had even called her family members.
In December 2022, Biden claimed that his uncle Frank Biden was awarded a Purple Heart for his exploits during World War II. But this claim has no proof, and the underlying eventuality makes one doubt the veracity of this story.
Also, reporters have estimated that Kamala Harris has been called the "president" at least six times by Biden.
7 November 2022, 07:56 GMT