Joe Biden made ‘orange’ joke to Irish Taoiseach in St Patrick’s Day gaffe
Last week the US President Joe Biden seemed to forget the Defence Secretary’s name and even his job title in a speech -– calling Lloyd Austin the “guy who runs that outfit over there”. The President was announcing two women were to be promoted to elite, four-star general commands at a ceremony at the White House on International Women’s Day. Mr Biden said: “I want to thank Sec-, the former general, I keep calling him ‘General’.
“My – the guy who runs that outfit over there.”
He then quickly added: “I want to make sure we thank the Secretary for all he’s done.”
The 78-year-old self-confessed “gaffe machine” has made verbal fumbles a hallmark of his career.
On St Patrick’s Day six years ago, the then vice president infamously had another foot-in-mouth moment as he greeted Irish politicians.
Sporting a green tie and noticing that everyone else was also wearing one, or clad in green, he suddenly blurted: “Anyone wearing orange is not welcome in here.”
The purported joke was a reference to Ireland’s religious and political divide which was at the heart of the Troubles, the violence which killed 3,000 from the late Sixties until the start of the millennium.
Orange is the colour associated with the Protestant majority in Northern Ireland, and overcoming sectarian tensions has been a major part of the effort to bring peace to the once-deeply troubled province.