US President Joe Biden did it again. Biden seemed to completely forget Scott Morrison's name during a historic joint announcement wherein he said that the United States and the UK would be helping Australia in its nuclear transition. Instead, he called the Australian Prime Minister "that fella down under" after forgetting his name.
Morrison has been called many things, but this is something that is going to stay with the Australian PM for a long time. And Biden by doing so once again raised questions about his health and that forgetting names has now turned into a bad habit for the Commander-in-Chief.
Biden Does it Again
The blunder came as the Biden, announced a trilateral security partnership with Britain and Australia called 'AUKUS'. Under the new deal, the United States will share nuclear technology that will help Australia create a multibillion-dollar fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. The AUKUS alliance has entered in a bid to counter the worrying rise of China in the Pacific.
While making this historic announcement, Biden appeared to completely forgot Morrison's name, despite he being one of the key members in this deal. Biden thanked the other two leaders who spoke before him but then seemed lost recalling Morrison's name.
"Thank you Boris, and I want to thank..." he began, before suddenly pausing. He then turned and pointed to the screen in which Morrison could be seen smiling. The Australian Prime Minister was appearing via video link. Biden looked at him and then appeared to hesitate.
"And I want to thank that fella down under. Thank you very much pal," Biden said. He added: "Appreciate it Mr prime minister," he continued, without even trying to recall his name at all.
It was certainly embarrassing for Morrison, who tried to sport a smile on his face despite Biden's goof up. Instaed, Morrison did the only thing you could: He gave Biden a thumbs up.
However, Biden eventually got it right and said, "I'm honoured today to be joined by two of Australia's closest allies, Australia and the United Kingdom, to launch a new phase of the trilateral security cooperation among our countries," he said moments later. "As prime minister Morrison and prime minister Johnson said, I want to thank you for this partnership ..."
But that was a bit too late. Biden had once again given a display of his tendency to forget names of dignitaries while talking to them and Thursday was just one of those many occasions.
"A very political announcement," Today show host Karl Stefanovic said after the press conference was aired live. "But that fella from Down Under, I mean totally awks."
Nine political editor Chris Uhlmann replied: "Almost as awkward as the acronym AUKUS, Australia, United Kingdom and United States."
Social media users too didn't waste time to make fun of Biden.
"Just a public speaking tip - if you're going to mention someone by name WRITE IT DOWN," one American woman Tweeted.
However, not all were so polite. "How did you not remember the prime minister's name? That was honestly so embarrassing," wrote on user.
"AUKUS getting off to a great start with Biden not knowing Scott Morrison's name," another wrote.
British journalist Graeme Demianyk wrote: "Biden calls the Australian prime minister "that fella down under" and tosses in a "thank you very much, pal". I'm definitely a "thanks, mate" kind of guy if I forget someone's name."
"Surely "That fella Down Under" is the equivalent of running into someone in the pub whose name you can't remember and can only come up with "Maate," wrote Kristen Ferguson.
That said, the historic deal will now allow Australia to walk away from its controversial deal to spend up to $90 billion buying French diesel-powered submarines. This is the first time Australia has embraced nuclear power after decades of debate. Also, this is the first instance of the United States and the UK sharing their nuclear submarine technology with another nation.
Morrison, however, said that Australia has no plans to acquire nuclear weapons or build its own nuclear power capabilities.