White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre adopted the ‘everybody does it defense’ as she was asked to explain President Biden’s latest gaffe of mixing up world leaders during a speech.
Jean-Pierre got pressed repeatedly on the latest flub, since this one involved name-dropping a long-deceased world leader for the second time within days while retelling a story dating to 2021.
‘As it relates to the names and what he was trying to say, many people, elected officials – many people they can misspeak sometimes,’ she said.
Then she rattled off several politicians, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, who have mixed up names in public. She even brought up some of her own flubs, including repeatedly mixing up the name of USA Today reporters who sit in the front of the briefing room.
Mix tape: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke of multiple officials including herself who have botched names. It was her latest defense of President Biden, 81, after he inserted the late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl into a story
It came after Biden, 81, at a New York fundraiser Wednesday night substituted the name of the late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to his telling of a story the 2021 G7 Summit and his claims about a discussion over his own boast that ‘America is back.’
Kohl died in 2017. Biden had meant to mention former Chancellor Angela Merkel.
That came days after he mixed up the deceased former French President Mitterrand with the current one, Emmanuel Macron, in the story.
She pointed to Johnson mixing up the names of Iran and Israel in an interview.
‘There are many times I call Joe from USA Today “Michael.” Now I call him Jo-Jo,’ she quipped. That is an inside joke for the name Biden oddly used when calling on Joey Garrison.
President Biden has botched the same story over and over, yet keeps telling it even while taking flak for the flubs
Sacre bleu! Biden accidentally wrote French President Emmanuel Macron, seen with his wife Brigitte Macron, out of the story. During another iteration, he referenced the ‘president of France’
None of the examines relate to deceased story characters.
Biden also infamously asked ‘Where’s Jackie’ in 2022 while speaking at an event a month after Rep. Jackie Walorski had died in a tragic car accident.
She said Fox News host Sean Hannity had mixed up names of GOP congressman.
Asked if she had seen Biden confuse names in private, she said she had not.
Biden’s latest flub came at a fundraiser.
‘When I first got elected president, I went to a G7 meeting with the seven heads of state in Europe and Great Britain. I sat down and I said, “Well, America´s back” and the president of France looked at me and said, `for how long?’ I never thought of it this way,’ Biden said.
‘Then Helmut Kohl of Germany looked at me and said, “What would you say Mr. President, if you picked up the London Times tomorrow morning and learned that 1,000 people had broken down the doors, the doors of the British Parliament and killed some on the way in,”‘ Biden said.
The the MItterrand mixup, Biden was referencing a leader who died 28 years ago. He was in office from 1981 to 1995, and died the following year.
Biden spent 36 years in the Senate and has been in politics for five decades.
Jean-Pierre faced multiple questions about the incident, a signal of how the issue has morphed from a gaffe-patrol only occasionally referenced in mainstream outlets to a broader topic being raised by his little down Democratic primary rival Dean Phillips. It was among the first questions raised by the Associated Press , who asked about comments about ‘European leaders who were deceased at that time.’ Still, Jean-Pierre opted not to call on outlets who have been attuned to the issue Thursday.
The press secretary spoke about the substance underlying Biden’s story, which relates to January 6 and leaders being concerned about chaos in the U.S., and Biden’s own statement that ‘America is back.’
But she did not explain why he continues to tell the story even while he repeatedly fails to get the details right, and why he can’t illustrate his democratic ideals in another way.
She also refused to comment when asked about Biden’s overall health.