Joe Biden leaves Antony Blinken perplexed as he claims Cook Islands leader is 'from Baltimore' in latest gaffe

Joe Biden leaves Antony Blinken perplexed as he claims Cook Islands leader is 'from Baltimore' in latest gaffe

Watch Joe Biden's gaffe-ridden speech

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 26/09/2023

- 15:28

Questions have been raised over the 80-year-old's cognitive abilities

Joe Biden raised eyebrows yet again during a White House speech on Monday by inexplicably declaring that he and the prime minister of the Cook Islands are from Baltimore, even though neither of them appear to have any roots in the city.

The bizarre comments came as the 80-year-old US President welcomed a group of world leaders to Washington for the two-day summit of the US - Pacific Island Forum.

Speaking alongside Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, Biden fleshed out why the two nations will benefit from diplomatic ties, before adding they were both from Baltimore.

Putting his hand on the shoulder of Brown, Biden said: “The real reason is, we are both from Baltimore. But that’s a long story.”

Mark Brown, Joe Biden and Antony Blinken

Antony Blinken appears confused by Joe Biden's comment


The Cook Islands prime minister is seen laughing nervously, appearing perplexed at the comment.

Biden’s Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, appears confused as he watches on.


Biden was born in Scranton, north of Baltimore, and attended the University of Delaware.

There was no apparent connection between Brown and the Maryland city.

According to his official bio, Brown is a longtime government employee and former Agriculture minister who studied at Massey University in New Zealand.

It was not the only gaffe from Biden during the speech as he botched an acronym while announcing the Pacific Islands Initiative.

Joe BidenJoe Biden announced in April that he will be running a campaign for re-electionReuters

“We call it the P… PI… anyway, doesn’t matter what we call it, but that’s what it is”, he said.

Biden made the comments while announcing his plan to invest $40 billion in infrastructure for Pacific islands, but failed to finish his explanation.

Acknowledging his forgetfulness, Biden commented: “I was going to get back to acronyms and I’m… not doing that”.

The latter comment earned a ripple of laughs from participants in the East Room of the White House.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden delivers a speech about relations with Pacific islands


The President is under increased scrutiny over his plan to run for a second term, with many Americans concerned about his cognitive abilities.

A late August AP-NORC poll found that 77 per cent of Americans believe he is too old to be effective for four more years.

In a concerning trend for Biden, Democrats appear to agree with the sentiment, with 69 per cent concurring in the poll.

Addressing the sentiment, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “80 is the new 40” as she brushed aside suggestions Biden is too old for the job.

“I get this question about once a week, I don’t know, I lose track”, she said.

“This is a president, if you think about it - in 2019, he got the same criticism, in 2020, he got the same criticism, in 2022, he got the same criticism. And every time he beats the naysayers.

“You look at his record, you look at how he’s been able to bring both sides together, to get some really important things done. That matters.”

Hot on the heels of Biden is Donald Trump, the man who lost to the incumbent president in the 2020 vote.

The latest nationwide general election survey by Fox News has Trump leading Biden by Two points, though swing state polls are better to predict a general election winner.

Trump has an unassailable lead in the polls when looking at his chances for the Republican nomination, with other big name candidates like Ron DeSantis failing to make any significant inroads so far.

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