President Biden referred to Kamala Harris as 'President Harris' when he misspoke in a speech on Thursday offering updates on the vaccination program.
'When President Harris and I took ...' Biden said, before taking a moment to pause, 'a virtual tour of a vaccination site in Arizona not long ago, one of the nurses on that tour injecting people, giving vax each shot, was like administering a dose of hope.'
Vice President Harris was present during the remarks, but her reaction was not captured on camera.
During the speech, the president announced that his administration could achieve its goal of administering 100 million vaccines on Friday, the 58th day of the new White House administration that assumed office on January 20, 2021.
Biden added that 65 percent of people aged 65-and-older have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and he suggested that people can host 'small' Fourth of July gatherings, while repeating there will be enough doses for all adults in May.
'If we keep our guard up, stick together and stick with the science, we can look forward to a Fourth of July that feels a bit more normal, with small groups able to gather for cookouts in backyards,' Biden said.
But it was the slip of the tongue that gained most attention from the speech, and it is not the first time Biden has made such a gaffe.
In December, also during a speech about Covid-19 vaccines, the president mistakenly referred to Harris as 'president elect'.
'I took it to instill public confidence in the vaccine. President-elect Harris took hers today for the same reason,' Biden said.
The comments sparked speculation of cognitive decline from right-wing conservatives, following an election campaign in which Biden repeatedly appeared to get tongue tied.
Sean Hannity took aim at the flub on his show Thursday night during a segment in which he argued that the president was cognitively impaired.
'Another day, another embarrassing big blunder from yes the frail, the weak the cognitively struggling commander in chief,' the Fox News commentator said.
'Someone might just want to remind Joe he's the president now.'
Hannity questioned whether Biden's slip was actually a 'moment of honesty' and said it might be the 'President Harris administration after all' as he showed clips of Biden and Harris repeatedly making the same mistake.
He accused the media of protecting the president, who he accused of being incapable of offering remarks without a 'cheat sheet.'
'When you compare Joe Biden to 2012, even 2016, (he) looks extremely weak, frail, often confused and yes, he is struggling cognitively. It is obvious,' Hannity said.
Then-president Donald Trump frequently accused Biden of exhibiting mental decline, and claimed Democrats would invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to replace Biden with Harris.
During a Democratic debate in July 2019, Biden called opponent Senator Corey Booker, D-N.J. the president.
While criticizing Booker's criminal justice plan, he said: 'The fact is that the bills that the president, excuse me, the future president, that the senator is talking about, are bills that were passed years ago and they were passed overwhelmingly.'
Booker joked, 'Well first of all, I'm grateful that he endorsed my presidency already.'
Harris also has been caught making a similar flub.
In a virtual campaign event on Sept. 12, she referred to a 'Harris administration together with Joe Biden,' and in Tampa on Sept. 15 referenced the 'Harris-Biden administration.'
Biden has spoken publicly about his lifelong struggle with stuttering, saying in February 2020 that he 'still occasionally, when I find myself really tired' catches himself stuttering.
'It has nothing to do with your intelligence quotient. It has nothing to do with your intellectual makeup,' Biden said.
Harris also once accidentally gave herself the commander-in-chief title.
'A Harris administration, together with Joe Biden as the president of the United States,' she said during a virtual roundtable in September.
'The Biden-Harris administration will provide access to $100 billion in low-interest loans and investments from minority business owners,' she continued.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.