Biden mistakenly placed hand over heart for Indian national anthem, slowly lowered arm once error was realized

 June 23, 2023

President Joe Biden committed a rather glaring faux pas on Thursday at the White House when he initially placed his hand over his heart during the playing of the Republic of India's national anthem, according to the Western Journal.

He soon realized his mistake and slowly lowered his hand back down to his side, albeit after the blunder had been caught on camera and live-streamed around the world.

Biden's mistimed display of patriotism

President Biden's errant patriotic gesture occurred during Thursday's formal Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House to begin the official state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Both Biden and Modi were standing next to each other on a stage when the U.S. Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, replete with Revolutionary War-era uniforms, began to play music to mark the start of the ceremony.

As is customary, the band first played the national anthem of the guest nation, in this instance India, and though the opening strains of India's national anthem sound nothing at all like "The Star Spangled Banner," Biden nonetheless immediately placed his hand over his heart and held it there for some time before eventually lowering it back down to his side while Modi quietly mouthed the words to his nation's anthem.

Once the Indian anthem had concluded, and following a transitional drum roll, the instantly recognizable opening bars of the U.S. national anthem were heard and Biden returned his hand to his heart and held it there for the duration of the song.

The Fife and Drum Corps then played another historic tune as they marched back and forth across the South Lawn, after which Biden was introduced and stepped to the podium to deliver his prepared remarks to welcome Modi to the White House for the official state visit.

Biden should have been aware of protocol

The Western Journal noted that the reaction of social media users to President Biden's erroneous gesture of patriotism during the wrong national anthem was particularly brutal.

That criticism may well be justified, the outlet noted, as Biden was almost certainly aware -- or should have been aware -- that India's anthem would be played first prior to the U.S. anthem being played.

That is because, per the State Department's Chief of Protocol, "It is standard practice for the visitor or guest of honor’s foreign national anthem to be played first, followed by the host nation’s. In the United States, the national anthem of the foreign country should be played first, followed by the U.S. national anthem."

Not Biden's first official state visit

The Western Journal pointed out that Biden, given his two-plus years as president, eight years as vice president, and decades as a U.S. senator, has attended and participated in countless official state visits and other events involving visiting foreign dignitaries during which the guests' anthem would be played before the U.S. anthem.

Unfortunately, as was witnessed by millions, if not billions of people around the world on Thursday, the elderly president with a tendency for gaffes and faux pas apparently forgot his own lifetime of experiences and near-certain instructions from his aides and handlers on the order of what was to occur during the formal ceremony.

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