President Biden seemed to forget who he was speaking to this week when he glanced away from his notes for only a second and spoke to Australia’s PM Scott Morrison as “that fella down under.”
The mental gaffe came during a talk between the two leaders and UK PM Boris Johnson revealing a defense deal that was done by allies to aid Australia in getting nuclear-powered submarines.
“Thank you Boris and I want to thank uh… that fella Down Under,” Biden said as he looked at the screen with Morrison.
“Thank you very much pal… appreciate it prime minister.”
The Australian PM smiled and gave Biden a thumbs up.
US President Joe Biden appeared to forget PM Scott Morrison’s name during this morning’s historic announcement of the #AUKUS defence pact.
Biden said “I wanna thank that fella down under” after thanking UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
— Nine.com.au (@Ninecomau) September 16, 2021
Social media users cringed in response to the exchange before saying that Biden was “hopeless” and “embarrassing” and that he was not up to the job.
The Twitter hashtag #THATFELLOWDOWNUNDER then quickly came as certain news outlets digested the event:
Joe Biden is just an old duffer, he’s not up to the job.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 16, 2021
US President Joe Biden has addressed Scott Morrison as “pal” and “that fellow down under” after appearing to forget the name of Australia’s national leader in a joint defence address.https://t.co/3Uip8z9I8F
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) September 15, 2021
— Avotoi (@Avotoi_) September 15, 2021
This may be the first time in history that the United States has headed into a major geopolitical conflict with a president who can't remember the name of his axis powers.#THATFELLOWDOWNUNDER #Biden #AUKUS
— Alexandra Marshall (@ellymelly) September 16, 2021
— Matt Sanderson (@MattSanderson__) September 16, 2021
As conservative news has reported before, the media conference was made to announce the new three-nation security agreement – called AUKUS – with Australia, the United States and the UK.
The new trilateral partnership will have the UK and U.S. partner to help Australia to create a new fleet of nuclear submarines.
Morrison said the next 18 months would have “an examination of what we require to exercise our nuclear responsibilities in the country.”
AFP says that nuclear power is very controversial in Australia and Canberra had formally banned the use of such nuclear energy in 1998, though the nation has rich uranium deposits.
Morrison insisted that Australia was “not trying to create nuclear weapons or create a civil nuclear capability.”
“And we will keep meeting all our non-proliferation obligations,” he said.
In a set of secret calls ahead of the new announcement, AFP reports that Morrison reassured allies that the decision was about ensuring “security in the area.”
Neighboring New Zealand however was fast to show its displeasure, with liberal leader Jacinda Ardern saying that nuclear subs would never be welcome in the nation’s national waters.
This comes at a time when China has been increasingly active in the nearby South China Sea.
Author: Scott Dowdy