President Joe Biden has long acknowledged that he is a “gaffe machine,” and he’s certainly been known to misspeak from time to time. Yet, if anyone needed further proof of how deeply divided the United States remains politically today, one only had to read the comments on social media regarding the president’s possible flub during a live address on Friday.
Multiple high-profile users including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Elon Musk called out Mr. Biden on Twitter after Biden signed an executive order to provide limited protections to women seeking abortions following last month’s Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade.
End of Quote?
During his address, Biden stated, “It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who registered to vote and cast a ballot is consistently higher than the percentage of the men who do so. End of quote.”
It wasn’t just the seemingly misplaced “end of quote” that had some users in an uproar, but his follow-up statement, “Repeat the line” that Biden apparently said just before paraphrased what he had previously stated. To some Biden appeared to have read the directional cues from the teleprompter and proceeded to openly mock him for it.
“Joe Biden accidentally reads the part on the teleprompter that says “repeat the line” when they wanted him to say the line again lmfao,” tweeted digital strategist Greg Price (@greg_price11).
Price then followed-up with a clip from the comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy where the lead character, played by Will Ferrel, made such an error on the air.
“Biden is so far gone that he will literally read anything put on the teleprompter in front of him,” added Comedian and SiriusXM host Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth).
Elon Musk (@elonmusk), who had just ended his bid to purchase Twitter, still found time to comment on Friday afternoon, responding to Price by tweeting, “Whoever controls the teleprompter is the real President!”
Not What He Said?
However, there was an equally swift response from many high-profile users, who suggested that Biden was being misquoted – and that the teleprompter wouldn’t have included such directions for any reader.
Podcaster Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) was among those who sought to set the record straight, tweeting “A teleprompter wouldn’t say ‘repeat the line.” It would just… repeat the line. That’s the entire point of a teleprompter. He was obviously saying ‘let me repeat the line’ because he was quoting the Supreme Court’s opinion.”
White House Assistant Press Secretary Emilie Simons (@EmilieSimons46) also was quick to address the issue, writing, “No. He said, ‘let me repeat that line.'”
This episode resulted in a seemingly endless back and forth for hours, with both sides stating what they believed they heard.
Even with a video clip, people largely heard what they wanted to hear (and believe). The sad fact is that as with so many conversations on Twitter these days, something seemingly unimportant has completely overshadowed a rather serious discussion.