On Thursday, Australians squirmed as US President Joe Biden greeted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for joining a huge new defence alliance, but seemed to forget his name.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was initially referred to as “that fellow Down Under” rather than being recognised by name for his role in the US-UK-Australia accord.
Biden was surrounded by giant television displays of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who both took part remotely, at a televised White House announcement.
“Thank you, Boris and… and I want to thank that fellow Down Under. Thank you very much, pal. Appreciate it, Mr Prime Minister,” Biden said as he revealed an agreement that will equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
Biden appeared to regain his composure as he returned to his official remarks and correctly identified Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, who had earlier replied to the apparent gaffe with a smile and a thumbs up. For some, however, it was too late.
The Cairns Post headline read, “‘Thanks mate,’ Biden appears to forget Morrison’s name.”
“Of course, the defence pact may not have gotten off to the bright start that Morrison had hoped for when US President Joe Biden pretended to forget his name at a press conference,” Morrison said.