Video: The Strange Moment Biden Calls Australian PM ‘That Fellow Down Under’ Instead of His Name


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President Joe Biden, right, looks toward Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a virtual news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden, right, looks toward Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a virtual news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Wednesday. (Brendan Smialowski – AFP / Getty Images)

 By Brett Davis  September 16, 2021 at 1:31pm

President Joe Biden added to his reputation as a legendary gaffe machine Wednesday while announcing a new defense agreement with the United Kingdom and Australia.

Biden thanked U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson by name and then appeared to forget Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s name.

“And I want to thank that fellow Down Under. Thank you very much, pal. Appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister,” the president said.

Crikey!




While hardly a diplomatic row, the presidential faux pas did not go unnoticed, with major media outlets in Australia reporting on the incident.

Biden “quickly backtracked and addressed Mr. Morrison by name as he thanked him for his partnership, but the fumble was not missed,” The Australian reported.

A Sky Net Australia article opened this way: “President Joe Biden has appeared to have forgotten Scott Morrison’s name but remembered U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s after announcing a landmark deal that will see Australia acquire at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.”

Even Politico Europe got in on the act, noting Biden’s cringeworthy performance distracted Australians from the issue of a major military agreement between the three nations.

Did President Biden forget the Australian prime minister’s name?

“Sure, Washington, London and Canberra have just signed a huge new defense pact. But what Australians are talking about is U.S. President Joe Biden appearing to forget their prime minister’s name,” the outlet reported.

Biden announced the new AUKUS military alliance with Britain and Australia to share advanced technologies, including the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, at a press conference on Wednesday. He was flanked by television screens beaming in U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian PM Scott Morrison at their own press conferences.”

Of course, the president — who has a mind like a steel trap, albeit an old, rusty steel trap that doesn’t work very well — has a history of not remembering names.

In July, Biden could not recall the last name of his own health and human services Secretary, Xavier Becerra.

Joe Biden forgets his own HHS Secretary’s name: “Xavier…uh…Mr. Secretary” pic.twitter.com/YQin9q7swf

— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 9, 2021

In May, he seemingly forgot House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s name in saying he had a “solid meeting with” before trailing off.

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

In March, Biden got stuck when trying to remember Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s name, calling him “the guy who runs that outfit over there.”

That “outfit” being the Pentagon, headquarters of the Department of Defense and the largest office building in the world.

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

Naturally, the establishment media that obsessively highlighted every breach of presidential protocol by nonpolitician President Donald Trump remained relatively quiet on Biden’s less-than-professional slight of the Australian prime minister.

Still, it could have been worse.

At least Biden avoided asking Morrison to slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for him.

Brett Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Washington University, has written for newspapers, public policy organizations, a major humanitarian institution and a software company. Brett lives in Federal Way, Washington, just south of Seattle.

Brett Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Washington University, has written for newspapers, public policy organizations, a major humanitarian institution and a software company. Brett lives in Federal Way, Washington, just south of Seattle.

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