Not heeding to those who were sceptical about the health condition of then Democrat presidential candidate is proving dear to Americans. US President Joe Biden on Friday referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as “President Harris”, set tongues wagging after social media users had a hearty laugh over his stumbling on the stairs of the Air Force One plane.
The 78-year old has given critics and observers ample scope for ridicule with his frequent slips of the tongue. The “President Harris” gaffe preceded the three stumbles on the stairway to Air Force One on Friday.
“If #Biden can’t stand on his own two feet then how can he stand up for America?” trolled one Trump supporter as defenders of the President took a more sympathetic view: It could happen to anyone. Rightwing media channels and outlets played the footage on loop to speculate about his health, which physicians have said is fine for his age.
More intriguing though was his gaffe on Thursday when he said “When President Harris and I took (pause) … a virtual tour of a vaccination site in Arizona not long ago, one of the nurses on that tour injecting people, giving vax each shot, was like administering a dose of hope.” Kamala Harris was present during the remarks but her reaction was not captured on camera.
The awkward address ignited another round of taunts from the Republican voters. They also hold, by the way, that Kamala Harris is a “socialist Trojan Horse” who will replace Biden in the Oval Office without being directly elected as president.
Biden is not new to gaffes. In December, in the middle of a speech about Covid-19 vaccines, he had mistakenly referred to Harris as “president-elect”. He had said, “I took it to instill public confidence in the vaccine. President-elect Harris took hers today for the same reason.”
On another occasion, Kamala Harris had herself referred to a “Harris administration”! In fact, it appears to have become a norm now to refer to the current dispensation as the “Biden-Harris administration” — an unusual formulation considering previous dispensations were not called “Trump-Pence administration” or “Obama-Biden administration” or “Bush-Cheney administration.”
What is turning speculations rife is the fact that Kamala Harris is one of the most visible, high-profile, and consequential vice-presidents in US history, appearing alongside Biden on many important occasions and sharing the limelight, evidently with the president’s consent.
Today (US EST), they both visited Atlanta in separate planes to console Asian-Americans reeling from the blood carnage earlier this week when a young white terrorist shot dead eight people, including six Asian-American women working in three spas and massage parlours.
Having borne the brunt of attacks by ‘Black Lives Matter’ activists, White authorities painted a sympathetic portrait of the killer, saying he had had a “bad day”. The killer, they said, got into a murderous spree because of sex addiction issues, inviting withering criticism from liberals who believe white extremists get kid glove treatment from authorities for hate crimes.
But Harris was unsparing in her critique of America. “Racism is real in America and it has always been, xenophobia is real in America and always has been. Sexism too,” she said.