They were appearing to talk up their close friendship, but Scott Morrison and Joe Biden’s AUKUS announcement quickly turned awkward when the US President appeared to forget our Prime Minister’s name.
Mr Biden thanked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson but then paused as he addressed Mr Morrison.
“Thank you, Boris … I want to thank, ah, that fella down under,” Mr Biden said.
“Thank you very much, pal.”
🇦🇺 'I want to thank that fella down under.'
🇺🇸 President Biden appears to forget the name of Australian PM Scott Morrison 😬 pic.twitter.com/2aCUbUBjdz
— GB News (@GBNEWS) September 15, 2021
The exchange occurred as the leaders confirmed an historic security partnership which paves the way for a major development in Australia’s submarine capability.
thank you pal pic.twitter.com/yqJbhE0Nk8
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) September 15, 2021
The three leaders were revealing the working group – AUKUS – would allow the three countries to share technology covering cyber security, artificial intelligence, underwater systems and long-range strike capabilities.
It’s not the first time an Australian leader’s name has been forgotten during a public announcement.
In 2017, Donald Trump’s White House press secretary Sean Spicer called former PM Malcolm Turnbull “Mr Trumbull”.
Following Mr Biden’s gaffe on Thursday morning, Mr Spicer was quick to tweet: “At least I knew his name”.
He’s yet to comment on whether he knows how to spell Australia:
As Press Secretary I bungled the name of Austrailia’s prime minister (apologies @TurnbullMalcolm ) but at least I knew his name and didn’t refer to him as “our friend down under”
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) September 15, 2021