President Joe Biden has long been known for public gaffes and misstatements, but his behavior in recent years has led some critics to question his cognitive function.
The latest botched remark came on Friday when he mistakenly claimed that 350 million Americans — a figure greater than the nation’s entire population — had already been vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the Washington Examiner, Biden actually made the false statement twice in the same speech.
“Virtually no one has died”
The incident led White House officials to issue a clarification to reporters, noting that the president had been referring to the total number of doses administered. A correction was also added to the transcript of his speech.
At the White House on Friday morning, Biden delivered remarks celebrating and taking credit for a better-than-expected jobs report and other improving economic numbers.
Much of his speech pertained to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, and the president at one point stated that 193 million Americans had received at least one dose — roughly 70% of the nation’s adults — with roughly 165 million being fully vaccinated.
Moments later, however, Biden declared: “You know, we have, roughly, 350 million people vaccinated in the United States and billions around the world, and virtually no one has died because of that vaccination.”
In the resulting transcript, the White House added “[doses administered]” after “350 million people vaccinated.”
“They’re doing fine”
Later in the same speech, he repeated the flub, stating: “I said well over — what’s the number again? I have to remind myself — 350 million Americans have already been vaccinated. They’re doing fine.”
Biden says that 350 million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated, which is more than the entire population of our country
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 6, 2021
The White House provided a similar clarification after his second flub. CBS News White House correspondent Kathryn Watson also noted the mistake in a tweet.
“Biden makes a verbal slip and says we have ‘roughly 350 million people vaccinated in the United States’ when we don’t have that many people,” she wrote.
Watson went on to reference a colleague’s report on the clarification — but the damage was likely already done among those who already question whether Biden is mentally fit for the job.