Democrat President Joe Biden appeared at one point during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to forget the name of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) after meeting with the California Republican just a few hours prior.
The president’s remarks came at an event late this afternoon where he delivered updates about his administration’s work in combatting the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier in the afternoon, Biden met with McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) about topics of bipartisan agreement.
“I’m encouraged not just because of a solid meeting with um, with uh, the uh, Republican leader in the House and with, uh, with Mitch, or Senator McConnell, who I’ve known a long, long time and worked with,” Biden said.
Joe Biden appears to forget Kevin McCarthy's name: "The solid meeting with uh…with uh…the uh…" pic.twitter.com/v9XNvxlInh
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 12, 2021
Biden drew criticism back in March at a press conference where he appeared at one point to forget the name of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin while speaking at an event on International Women’s Day.
“I want to thank you both and I want to thank the sec-, the, the, ugh, the former general, I keep calling him general but my, my, ugh, the guy who runs that outfit over there,” Biden said. “I want to make sure we thank the secretary for all he’s done to try to implement what we’ve just talked about and for recommending these two women for promotion. Thank you all and God bless you all and may God protect our troops.”
The surprising part about Biden’s remarks was that approximately a minute earlier he did remember Austin’s name, referring to him as “Secretary Austin.”
Whoops: Biden forgets the name of the Pentagon, as well as the name of his secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin pic.twitter.com/ZtcgHLBIAO
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 8, 2021
Biden appearing to forget the names of individuals that he has recently met with are the least of his problems as his administration is facing crises on numerous fronts, including a worsening border crisis, a disastrous jobs report from April, skyrocketing inflation, and gas crisis in several states, and rapidly deteriorating conditions in the Middle East.
Biden was asked during the press conference on Wednesday to weigh in on terrorist attacks from Hamas against Israel this week.
“My national security staff and defense staff has been in constant contact with their counterparts in the Middle East, not just with the Israelis, but also with everyone from the Egyptians, to the Saudis, to the Emirates, etc.,” Biden said. “And I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not too long ago; I’ll be putting out a statement very shortly on that. My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later.”
During the press conference, Biden said that Israel had a right to defend itself from rocket attacks, but he stopped short of condemning Hamas for the attacks. However, the White House subsequently released a read-out summary of Biden’s call with Netanyahu, which did contain condemnation of the rocket attacks by Hamas.
The Biden administration’s read-out stated:
President Biden spoke today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians. He also conveyed the United States’ encouragement of a pathway toward restoring a sustainable calm. He shared his conviction that Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith from around the world, must be a place of peace. He updated the Prime Minister on the United States’ diplomatic engagement with regional countries, including Egypt, Jordan, and Qatar, as well as with Palestinian officials.
The two leaders agreed to maintain the close consultation between their teams, which has included consistent engagement by their respective foreign ministers, defense ministers, chiefs of defense, and national security advisors, and to stay in touch personally in the days ahead.
This report has been updated to include additional information.