In a speech that President Biden delivered at the 46th Annual Gala of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, D.C., he made a linguistic blunder when he complimented the “Congressional Black Caucus” rather than the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He should have been praising the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He ought to have offered praise to the Hispanic Caucus in the House of Representatives. After just two days of practicing public speaking, he had already made his third humiliating mistake in front of an audience.
During the course of his speech, the Vice President of the United States made a reference to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and observed, “The Congressional Black Caucus embodies all those values.” Once he was aware of his mistake, he continued on without pausing to make any steps to correct it.
This incident occurred not long after two other recent blunders that occurred somewhat close together. The day before, at a joint press conference with the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President Biden did not shake President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s hand. At a charity event, he told the same story over and over again only minutes after someone else had told it. As a result of these occurrences, his memory as well as his capacity to communicate in front of an audience have come into doubt.
A recent slip-up made by Vice President Biden, in which he made the insinuation that African American and Hispanic employees lack “high school diplomas,” has received attention and outrage.
These slip-ups shine a brighter light on the challenges that Vice President Biden faces throughout his public appearances and speeches, bringing those challenges into clearer perspective.