President Biden appears to have committed yet another blunder at an event in Lithuania by referring to the Ukrainian President as “Vladimir.” He also stopped mid-sentence and said, “I shouldn’t be so familiar,” before referring to Ukraine’s leader as Mr. Zelensky. The potential gaffe is particularly embarrassing as “Vladimir” is the name of Zelensky’s war-time nemesis, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While some social media commentators played down the incident and said Zelensky’s name Volodymyr is merely a different version of the same name, the President was still mocked for his actions during the speech on July 12. Comedian and commentator Tim Young, who has over 800,000 Twitter followers, showed a clip of the President apparently waving at a person who wasn’t there. “Biden waved and pointed to nobody again today… Good thing he’s not in charge of anything important… like our nuclear codes,” Young tweeted.
However, there was some backlash to his post, with people insisting the President was waving at supporters to the side of the stage that were not visible to the cameras facing Biden.
While the instances in Lithuania are disputable, President Biden has a long history of gaffe-making, much recorded by online influencers and Republican activists. Even President Obama once said, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f–k things up.”
In one potentially serious gaffe, during a speech in Poland, President Biden said that Vladimir Putin cannot be permitted to remain in power. This caused White House staff to scramble and clarify that the US has no intention of pursuing regime change in Russia. He also told Americans they would save $500 a month with his new energy policies – before White House staffers corrected the error and clarified he meant $500 a year.
During his first State of the Union speech in 2022, which took place soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Biden said, “Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks. But he will never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people.”