Joe Biden appears to forget Australian Prime Minister's name calling him the 'fella from Down Under'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks about a national security initiative in the East Room of the White House in Washington, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson - Oliver Contreras
President Joe Biden delivers remarks about a national security initiative in the East Room of the White House in Washington, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson - Oliver Contreras

Joe Biden appeared to forget the Australian prime minister’s name during a speech at the White House on Wednesday announcing a new strategic partnership in the region with Australia and Britain.

The US president seemed to come up blank as he stared at Scott Morrison on a screen next to him, calling him “the fella from Down Under”.

The gaffe-prone 79-year-old president is known to either forget, or confuse, names.

During the presidential campaign, Mr Biden introduced one of his granddaughters to a crowd as his late son Beau. He also stumbled over the name of the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during a briefing last month.

Mr Biden also informally called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who also appeared on screen at the joint press conference on Wednesday, by his first name only.

Richard Ferguson, a reporter for The Australian, tweeted a readout from the conference, saying: “Joint AUKUS alliance statement here from Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and 'that fella down under'.”

Some speculated that Mr Biden had not in fact forgotten Mr Morrison’s name, but was simply striking a more casual tone.

Minutes earlier, Mr Biden had announced the US is forming a new Indo-Pacific security alliance with Britain and Australia that will allow for greater sharing of defence capabilities, a move that could deepen a growing chasm in US-China relations.

The three countries have agreed to share information in areas including artificial intelligence, cyber and underwater defence capabilities.

They announced plans to support Australia acquiring nuclear-powered submarines. To date, the only country that the United States has shared nuclear propulsion technology with is Britain.

Mr Biden said Australia is not seeking to develop a nuclear weapons program and information sharing would be limited to helping it develop a submarine fleet.

Social media quickly had #ThatFellaDownUnder trending - especially in Australia.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting