It was President Joe Biden’s first official State of the Union address on Tuesday — and that meant plenty of primetime gaffes that made up about the only interesting things in an otherwise mundane speech.
In fact, if it weren’t for a bit about the Russian invasion of Ukraine invasion tacked on at the beginning of the speech, this could have been dusted off from a month ago and things would have been the same. America is opening up again. Jobs are coming home. Inflation may be a problem, but it’s time to cut costs, not cut wages. Also, we need to spend more on infrastructure.
If you haven’t heard this before, you haven’t heard Joe Biden speak. Of course, some of the material might have been new — again — to the president because he seems to be long past the point of diminishing returns mentally.
However, if Biden doesn’t remember his gaffes on Tuesday, we all certainly will — and his three biggest whiffs started when he called Ukrainians something distinctly different from “Ukranian.”
Biden calls the Ukrainian people: “Uranian people."
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) March 2, 2022
Russia may “circle Kyiv with tanks, but they’ll never gain the hearts and souls of the Uranian people,” Biden said. Or maybe it was “Iranian.” Whatever the case, it certainly wasn’t the correct demonym.
The fact that so much of the speech otherwise applauded the undeniable courage the Ukrainian people are showing in the face of the Russian invasion just made it worse.
They deserved to know Biden meant every word of that praise. That flub made it sound insincere — at best.
Next on our top three was when Biden quoted Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, when he said “it’s time to bury the label ‘Rust Belt.’”
Brown tweeted the president’s declamation out. You may notice, however, that the clip ended there.
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) March 2, 2022
Biden’s spiel on the Rust Belt, however, didn’t end there:
“It’s time to see … the … what used to be called Rust Belt become the — the home of … significant resurgence of manufacturing,” Biden said, squinting as if in physical pain.
Biden completely malfunctions while delivering a line about the rust belt. pic.twitter.com/dLD1ACE5Tz
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 2, 2022
That didn’t quite sound convincing — nor did any of his other promises during the State of the Union to keep manufacturing in the United States.
Our third gaffe came as Biden talked about how America would “continue vaccinating the world” against COVID-19.
“We’ve sent 475 million vaccine doses to 112 countries, more than any nation on Earth,” Biden said, according to a transcript from The New York Times.
Fair enough. That’s something to toot the administration’s horn about.
Then he said that “we won’t stop, because you can’t build a wall high enough to … keep out a vaccine. The vaccine can stop these diseases.”
BIDEN: "You can't build a wall high enough to keep out a uh ah um a vaccine." pic.twitter.com/bKbTiOrfDy
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 2, 2022
I can think of plenty of reasons to build a wall, but not to impede the flow of vaccines. The look of puzzlement on Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s faces on this were worth the time investment alone. (As conservative political organizer Phil Kerpen noted on Twitter, “Harris and Pelosi look like they’re watching a tightrope walker.”)
Harris and Pelosi look like they're watching a tightrope walker.
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) March 2, 2022
They weren’t the only gaffes, of course — there were other embarrassing moments, like the priceless advice from a career politician to business owners that they should “lower your costs, not your wages.”
Still, they were enough to indicate the leader of the free world was up past his bedtime. (He can seem like this at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, mind you, yet another sign things aren’t all well in Biden-world.)
But again, the mainstream media outlets is going to look past “Uranians,” and ignore walls that can’t contain vaccines and the president’s evident problems explaining why we should no longer call the manufacturing-centric portion of the Midwest the “Rust Belt.”
After the speech, the was plenty of talk among pundits about how the president was looking to “turn the page” on a rough year and reframe the discussion to center on his accomplishments.
This was a curious take, considering how most of the address was just a rehash of the same old things Biden has been saying since day one of his presidency — perhaps with a patina of fresh paint on it, but that’s all. And yet, he still struggled through repeating himself, almost as if it were all new.
To him it may have been, but for the rest of us it was all old hat — including, sadly, the gaffes.