March 3, 2022
US President Joe Biden appeared to confuse an integral moment during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, calling Ukrainians the “Iranian people” in a passionate call to support Ukraine against the ongoing Russian invasion.
“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, but he’ll never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people,” Biden said.
His gaffe was followed by an awkward slow clap from his listening audience.
“He’ll never, he’ll never extinguish their love of freedom,” he added, as someone yelled from the crowd and applause grew significantly.
Biden’s slip-up was mocked on social media platforms, causing the word Iranian to trend on Twitter and the moment to go viral.
Videos of the verbal blunder were shared by many, including political commentators such as former American President Donald Trump administration staffer Sebastian Gorka tagging it as an example of a #SenilePresident.
In a tweet, Jack Posobiec, host of the “Human Events Daily” podcast, said: “Did Biden just say Putin is encircling Kyiv but he’ll never win the heart and soul of the Iranian people?”
Did Biden just say Putin is encircling Kyiv but he’ll never win the heart and soul of the Iranian people?
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) March 2, 2022
Another user tweeted a map of Ukraine but replaced the word Ukraine with Iran, alongside the caption, “East Europe geography according to #Biden #SOTU IRANIAN #Potus.”
— د. محمد شاهين .M Shaheen, Ph.D (@moshahe19127355) March 2, 2022
Others jumped to Biden’s defense. One said: “Hey, as the parent of a kid with a speech impediment, let me just make a blanket statement: To conquer a stutter and deliver a speech to hundreds of millions of people is a much bigger accomplishment than ‘borrowing money from dad.’ Your jokes about it are tired.”
Hey, as the parent of a kid with a speech impediment, let me just make a blanket statement:
To conquer a stutter & deliver a speech to hundreds of millions of people is a much bigger accomplishment than “borrowing money from dad”.
Your jokes about it are tired.#SOTU
— Jay Black (@jayblackisfunny) March 2, 2022
It is not the first time Biden has tripped over words. Last year, social media users had a field day when he mistakenly referred to his Vice President Kamala Harris as “President Harris.”
Whether a stutter, mistake, or simple slip of the tongue, Biden was already facing questions about his mental sharpness prior to his first State of the Union address.