In talks in the Downing Street garden yesterday on the eve of the crunch NATO summit, the president told the PM he could not be meeting a ‘closer friend and greater ally’.
Despite only having to hold a conversation with Sunak for a matter of minutes, one sharp photographer noticed 80-year-old Biden clutching a cue card, and managed to snap a picture of what was inscribed.
The word ‘NATO’ was written in large print and underscored, even though both world leaders were headed to Vilnius mere hours later.
‘F-16’ also stood out, suggesting Biden was prepared to discuss whether NATO could offer the fighter jets to Ukraine’s air force – a point of debate for months.
Other mentions included ‘Turkey’ – another NATO country who until late last night had resisted Sweden’s accession to the alliance – ‘Atlantic Declaration’, in reference to the new US-UK economic agreement announced last month, and AI.
The president’s reliance on such simple cue cards to steer the conversation highlighted the astounding 37-year age gap between the two world leaders, and was seen as yet another indication of Biden’s seemingly declining mental awareness.
Despite the assistance of cue cards during his presidency, Biden has gathered quite the reputation for making humiliating gaffes.
At the end of June, he confused Ukraine for Iraq twice in the space of 24 hours, despite having a cheat sheet when addressing Wagner’s uprising against Putin.
The president said that Putin had ‘absolutely’ been weakened, but added, ‘it’s hard to tell really,’ when asked to what extent.
‘He’s clearly losing the war in Iraq. He’s losing the war at home and has become a bit of a pariah around the world,’ Biden said, clearly meaning to say the war in Ukraine.
The night before, however, the president was speaking at a fundraiser in Chevy Chase, Maryland, when he made the same mistake, according to White House transcripts.
Two weeks prior, the president put his foot firmly in his mouth again when battling with the teleprompter as he incorrectly identified one of his signature programs, Build Back Better, referring to it as ‘Build Back Biden’.