Joe Biden forgot the name of his own Secretary of Defense during a tightly scripted televised speech on Monday announcing the nominations of two female generals.
The announcement of the nominations of Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost and Army Lt. General Laura Richardson to the important military commands was timed to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Mr. Biden was able to mumble his way through most of the speech without incident, but ran into trouble at the very end.
“It’s my great honor to serve as your commander-in-chief,” Biden told the women. “I look forward to hearing your active duty and recommendations of how we will work together to keep the American people safe, meet every challenge in the 21st century. I want to thank you both.”
“And I want to thank the Sec—the former general, I keep calling him general, my my uh, the guy who runs that outfit over there,” he continued, struggling to remember the name of his defense secretary, Lloyd Austin.
Biden just gave up and called Austin “the secretary,” and thanked him for trying “to implement what we’ve just talked about.”
“I want to make sure we thank the secretary for all he’s done to try to implement what we’ve just talked about and for recommending these two women for promotion. Thank you all. May God bless you all and may God protect our troops.”
Biden has not held a solo press conference since he was installed into office.