Biden Mixes Up German Chancellors During Remarks

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – Recently, President Joe Biden made a notable misstatement during fundraising events, claiming a discussion with the deceased German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who passed away in 2017, took place in 2021. This incident occurred while Biden was reminiscing about his experiences at his initial G7 summit in England, during the summer of 2021.

At these events, Biden spoke about being asked by Chancellor Kohl about how one might react if a thousand individuals attempted to overthrow the British Parliament to prevent the next Prime Minister from assuming office. This anecdote, however, is historically inaccurate, as the G7 meeting was attended by Angela Merkel, Kohl’s successor, given Kohl had deceased four years prior.

This recent slip of the tongue is among several instances where Biden has inadvertently mentioned individuals who have passed away as if they were part of recent events or conversations. Another example includes a reference to former president of France François Mitterrand, who passed away in 1996, in relation to the same G7 meeting. Additionally, Biden has made claims of speaking with the inventor of insulin, despite the fact that the co-discoverers of insulin had passed away before or shortly after Biden’s birth in 1942.

In another instance, during a 2022 White House conference, Biden seemed to look for the late Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski, who had died in a car accident a month earlier. Furthermore, in his 2019 presidential campaign, Biden mistakenly referred to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who passed away in 2013, when he intended to refer to Theresa May.

These episodes underscore the challenges and the high-pressure environment of public speaking, especially for public figures under constant scrutiny. 

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