Biden makes 'poor relatives' joke at African Summit

December 16, 2022

President Joe Biden is making headlines for a questionable joke about "poor relatives" that he just told to Africa's leaders. 

The Daily Mail reports that Biden made the joke on Thursday at the Africa Leaders Summit that was held in the Washington D.C. convention center. There, Biden hosted the leaders of 50 African nations.

"Be careful what you wish for"

At one point during the summit, Biden expressed to the African leaders his wish to visit Africa.

"Finally, I’m grateful that all of you have made the journey to Washington for this summit, and I’m eager to visit your continent," Biden said.

It was here that Biden pulled out one of his typical jokes about a "poor relative" who overstays his welcome.

Biden said:

As I told some of you — you invited me to your countries. I said, "Be careful what you wish for because I may show up." The poor relatives always show up. The wealthy ones never show up. The poor come and they eat your food and stay longer than they should. Well, I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in your home countries.


It's unclear whether the "joke" really resonated with anyone.

For one thing, it's a bit absurd that Biden is trying to either liken himself and/or America to a "poor relative" in this situation.

As the New York Post reports:

The president, who formerly nicknamed himself “Middle Class Joe,” often jokes about himself being a poor relative despite him, and first lady Jill Biden, reaping a $15.6 million windfall of income in 2017 and 2018 after he left the vice presidency.

The outlet adds:

Biden previously had much a more modest net worth, though members of his family earned massive salaries through their connection to him, including his son Hunter who earned up to $1 million per year serving on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his father led the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.

In addition to the comparison just not making much sense, Biden's joke was also a bit ill-timed as Africa has been dealing with food insecurity.

White House hints at a trip to Africa

Both White House Press Secretary Karine-Jean Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan suggested that Biden will be headed to Africa at some point, but they didn't give any specifics.

Sullivan said on Monday:

'I will say the President and the Vice President, members of the Cabinet – there will be an announcement about a broad-based commitment to travel to the continent in 2023. But the precise specifics of that I will also leave

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