President Joe Biden came under fire online Wednesday after a misguided comment about the “war in Iraq” by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a country whose capital is roughly 1,200 miles away from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Numerous figures on the right, including the press arm of the Republican National Committee, mocked the error on social media. A prominent Trump supporter said in a Twitter post viewed more than 74,000 times that Biden had “lost his mind.”

Speaking to reporters about a recently aborted uprising against the Russian military establishment and its handling of the war, Biden said he believed increasingly visible fissures in Russia’s high ranks were clear signs that Putin was losing his grip on power. .

Joe Biden The White House, June 28
US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters as he leaves the White House on June 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. The president has been mocked for confusing Iraq with Ukraine when commenting on the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“It’s hard to tell, but [Putin is] clearly losing the war in iraqand is losing the war at home,” he told reporters.

Biden also mistakenly referred to Ukraine as Iraq during a fundraiser Tuesday night, Bloomberg’s Nancy Cook reported, making the mistake along with a paper where he referred to the prime minister of India as the leader of China.

For Biden, who has been prone to bad mouthing during his presidency, the gaffe pales in comparison to more serious ones he has made during his tenure. They include moments in which he offered greetings to a deceased congresswoman and comments about Russia’s potential deployment of nuclear weapons that were later downplayed by the White House press office.

But for a man once said by conservative Fox News he averaged at least one error a day, the comment only helped bolster questions from opponents and the press about the 80-year-old’s mental acuity as he seeks four more years. as commander in chief. -boss.

The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, for which Biden voted, was met with skepticism by Putin at the time. And while Russia has been militarily involved in the Middle East, it has not dealt directly with Iraq since the 1980s, when it was a key ally of the country in its ongoing war with Iran.

Some, like Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, have used Biden’s slip-ups as a central part of calls for cognitive aptitude tests for presidential candidates, while polling numbers have shown growing public concern over recent performance. from Biden.

In a recent NBC poll conducted June 16-20, 68 percent of 1,000 registered US voters expressed concern that Biden does not have the mental and physical health necessary to be president, including 55 percent who he said he had “important” concerns: roughly double the percentage of voters who had similar sentiments at the start of his term.

Similar numbers had been previously reported in a NPR/PBS NewsTime/marist survey of 1,286 US adults taken in May. He found that 43% of those polled viewed questions about Biden’s mental fitness not as the result of Republican campaign tricks, but as a genuine concern.

Earlier this week, NBC host Chuck Todd confronted Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former Democratic presidential candidate, with the recent numbers and asked if she had any concerns about the trend.

“No, I don’t know,” replied the senator. “Our party is united around him. Why? Because we work in a results-oriented business and he has gotten results.”

news week has reached out to the White House Press Office by email for comment.

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