Biden mixes up Kohl and Merkel in second gaffe this week



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President Biden on Wednesday mixed up which German leader he spoke to at a recent Group of Seven (G-7) summit, the second time in a week he has mistakenly recounted meeting with a dead European leader.

Biden told donors at a New York fundraiser a story about his trip to his first G-7 meeting after taking office, when he declared “America’s back.”

“And the president of France looked at me and said, ‘For how long?’ I never thought of it this way,” Biden said. “Then 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, the doors of the British Parliament and killed some [people] on the way in [to] deny the prime minister to take office.’”

Helmut Kohl served as chancellor of Germany from 1982-1988. He died in 2017. Angela Merkel was the German chancellor at the time of Biden’s first G-7 meeting as president.

The mix-up echoed a similar instance on Sunday at a Nevada campaign event when Biden was telling the same story about his meeting with world leaders at the G-7. But in that episode, Biden mistakenly named the president of France as François Mitterrand instead of Emmanuel Macron.

Mitterrand had served as president of France from 1981 to 1995. He died in 1996.

Asked about that incident on Tuesday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a reporter she would not “go down that rabbit hole with you.”

Voters have long indicated they are concerned about Biden’s age and ability to serve a second term.

An NBC News poll published this week found 76 of voters, including 54 percent of Democrats, said they had major or moderate concerns when asked whether Biden, 81, has “the necessary mental and physical health to be president for a second term.”

Biden would be 86 at the end of a potential second term. The president has said it is fair for voters to consider his age, but he and his team have stressed that he should be judged on his record of achievements while in office.

His likely opponent, former President Trump, is 77 and in recent weeks has faced increasing scrutiny over his own gaffes.

Trump at one October rally appeared to confuse the leaders of Hungary and Turkey. In January, he repeatedly confused former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with his GOP primary opponent Nikki Haley, falsely claiming that Haley was in charge of security during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Haley has at recent campaign events said Trump has gotten “confused” as part of a broader argument for voters to move on to a new generation of leadership.

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