White House defends Biden after he mixed up world leaders with dead people: ‘It happens’

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended President Biden on Thursday when asked about a gaffe in which the president said he spoke in 2021 with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl – who actually died four years earlier – arguing that misspeaking ‘happens to all of us, and it is common.’ 

Biden had made the remark on Wednesday while recalling past conversations during fundraising events. At his second and third events in New York, he told donors about conversations surrounding Jan. 6, 2021, at his first Group of Seven meeting as president, which took place in England in June of that year. 

Biden said Kohl asked him what he would say if he learned 1,000 people stormed the British Parliament in an attempt to deny the next prime minister from taking office. 

The annual meeting was not attended by Kohl, as he had been dead for four years, but by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The gaffe is similar to the one Biden made on Sunday after he claimed he spoke with François Mitterrand, a French president who died in 1996, at the same G-7 meeting. 

‘I want to just step back for a second and just kind of think really kind of top level of what the president was talking about when he tells a story about having these conversations with world leaders, which are obviously important conversations. He was underlying the Jan. 6 events in 2021, what happened,’ Jean-Pierre said Thursday when asked about the matter. ‘The message that it sent around the globe, around the world to our leaders, to world leaders, how dangerous it is, our democracy, how important democracy was and or is continues to be, obviously.’

‘As it relates to the names and what he was trying to say, many people, elected officials, many people, you know, they can misspeak sometimes, right?’ she added. 

Jean-Pierre then cited a handful of examples of what she said were mistakes by media and political figures.

‘And so this happens. You know, it happens to all of us and it is common,’ Jean-Pierre argued. ‘But I do want to make sure we don’t forget what the overall arching kind of theme, what he is trying to say about our leadership on the global stage.’ 

Fox News’ Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report. 

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