President Biden referred to Kamala Harris as ‘President Harris’ when he misspoke in a speech on Thursday offering updates on the vaccination programme in the US.
‘When President Harris and I took …’ Biden said, before taking a moment to pause, ‘a virtual tour of a vaccination site in Arizona not long ago, one of the nurses on that tour injecting people, giving vax each shot, was like administering a dose of hope.’
Vice President Harris was present during the remarks, but her reaction was not captured on camera.
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of COVID-19 vaccinations, as US Vice President Kamala Harris (back) looks on, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 18 March 2021. ‘When President Harris and I took …’ Biden said, before taking a moment to pause
During the speech, the president announced that his administration could achieve its goal of administering 100 million vaccines on Friday, the 58th day of the new White House administration that assumed office on January 20, 2021.
Biden added that 65 percent of people aged 65-and-older have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and he suggested that people can host ‘small’ Fourth of July gatherings, while repeating there will be enough doses for all adults in May.
‘If we keep our guard up, stick together and stick with the science, we can look forward to a Fourth of July that feels a bit more normal, with small groups able to gather for cookouts in backyards,’ Biden said.
But it was the slip of the tongue that gained most attention from the speech, and it is not the first time Biden has made such a gaffe.
In December, also during a speech about Covid-19 vaccines, the president mistakenly referred to Harris as ‘president elect’.
‘I took it to instill public confidence in the vaccine. President-elect Harris took hers today for the same reason,’ Biden said.
The comments sparked speculation of cognitive decline from right-wing conservatives, following an election campaign in which Biden repeatedly appeared to get tongue tied.
Then-president Donald Trump frequently accused Biden of exhibiting mental decline, and claimed Democrats would invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to replace Biden with Harris.
During the speech, the president announced that his administration could achieve its goal of administering 100 million vaccines on Friday, the 58th day of the new White House administration that assumed office on January 20, 2021
During a Democratic debate in July 2019, Biden called opponent Senator Corey Booker, D-N.J. the president.
While criticizing Booker’s criminal justice plan, he said: ‘The fact is that the bills that the president, excuse me, the future president, that the senator is talking about, are bills that were passed years ago and they were passed overwhelmingly.’
Booker joked, ‘Well first of all, I’m grateful that he endorsed my presidency already.’
However, Biden has spoken publicly about his lifelong struggle with stuttering, saying in February 2020 that he ‘still occasionally, when I find myself really tired’ catches himself stuttering.
‘It has nothing to do with your intelligence quotient. It has nothing to do with your intellectual makeup,’ Biden said.
Harris also once accidentally gave herself the commander-in-chief title.
‘A Harris administration, together with Joe Biden as the president of the United States,’ she said during a virtual roundtable in September.
‘The Biden-Harris administration will provide access to $100 billion in low-interest loans and investments from minority business owners,’ she continued.