President Biden’s recent remarks in Las Vegas have stirred intrigue after he recounted a meeting with François Mitterrand, the former French president who passed away nearly three decades ago. Addressing a crowd ahead of the Democratic primary in Nevada, Biden’s comments veered into historical oddity.
“I sat down and I said, ‘America’s back,'” Biden recalled, setting the stage for an anecdote he’s shared previously about a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. But then came the unexpected twist: “And Mitterrand from Germany – I mean from France – looked at me and said…”
The audience listened intently as Biden, seemingly caught in a momentary lapse, searched for his train of thought. “Well, how long are you back for?” he eventually concluded, leaving many puzzled by the mention of a conversation with a leader long gone.
François Mitterrand served as France’s president from 1981 to 1995 and passed away in 1996. His unexpected reappearance in Biden’s narrative raises questions about the accuracy of the account and the president’s state of mind.
However, Biden’s mix-up of dead and living leaders is the second in the space of a few days. Another chilling conversation was recounted between Joe Biden and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
“Helmut Kohl of Germany looked at me and said, ‘What would you say, Mr President, if you picked up the London Times tomorrow morning and learned that 1,000 people had broken down the doors… of the British Parliament and killed some (people) on the way in (to) deny the prime minister to take office,'” Biden said, according to a report.
The anecdote was shared during a summit attended by Angela Merkel, Germany’s first female chancellor. Kohl, who passed away in 2017, served as chancellor for 16 years, from 1982 to 1998, and played a pivotal role in German reunification following the end of the Cold War.
Amidst these discussions, concerns about Biden’s age have surfaced in the public discourse. Polls indicate that US voters are increasingly mindful of Biden’s advancing years, with questions arising about his potential longevity in office. At the start of a possible second term, Biden would be 82 years old and 86 by its conclusion.
US voters appear less worried about the age of 77-year-old Trump, who is running for another White House term, but he has also made several slip-ups. Trump recently mixed up his rival for the Republican nomination, Nikki Haley, with former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
Last year, he said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was the leader of Turkey and warned that the United States was on the verge of “World War II,” which ended in 1945.”
The White House, however, has sought to downplay concerns over Biden’s age and occasional slips in verbal communication. Administration officials point to Biden’s extensive experience and interactions with world leaders throughout his career, spanning his tenure as a senator, vice president, and now president.
“Elected officials, many people, they can misspeak sometimes,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a briefing. “This happens. It happens to all of us.”
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