WASHINGTON — President Biden forgot the name of Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece on Monday when he sang “Happy Birthday” to the federal holiday honoring the late civil rights icon.
The 80-year-old president spoke at an event organized by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network to honor Arndrea Waters King, 49, co-hosted by Martin Luther King III, 65, and his wife.
“Third Martin, we celebrate the legacy of your beloved father and mother who worked for a beloved community. But congratulations today to the honorees, including your wife, I understand today is her birthday,” Biden said.
“Well see, my wife has a rule in her family that on someone’s birthday, you sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Are you ready?” went the president before starting the song.
Biden’s eyes appeared to search for the woman’s name on his teleprompters by tune in front of hundreds of guests at Washington’s historic Mayflower Hotel.
“Happy birthday, dear Walls-DeWitt,” Biden finally uttered.
Members of the royal family shook their heads and laughed at the awkward moment.
Biden tried to bail himself out by telling his middle-aged counterpart, “Well, it’s 30 years in hell. But you’ve got to put up with it.”
Biden is a very old president and his mental acuity is often the subject of public debate, although his defenders say he is prone to gaffes and stutters.
In September, the president stunned audiences by asking “Where’s Jackie?” When he sought out the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), he publicly mourned his death and called his family in August to offer condolences.
Biden has mistakenly referred to his vice president, Kamala Harris, as “President Harris.” On at least six occasions – Recently on January 5th.
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