Biden Forgets Name Of His Defense Secretary, Calls Him 'The Guy Who Runs That Outfit'

Biden Forgets Name Of His Defense Secretary, Calls Him 'The Guy Who Runs That Outfit'

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
March 8, 2021

President Biden on Monday totally forgot the name of the Pentagon as well as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's name during a White House event Monday, calling the Pentagon chief "the guy who runs that outfit over there."

"I want to thank Sec — the former general — I keep calling him 'General.' The guy who runs that outfit over there," Biden said in an event announcing the nomination of two female generals to lead American military combatant commands, as he seemed to forget the name of the Pentagon, which he called "that outfit."

"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," Biden added.

Earlier at the event, Biden mentioned the Defense Department leader by his name, "Secretary Austin," while reading off a teleprompter.

Biden is known for his repetitive gaffe and his struggles to remember the names of many lawmakers as well as his own cabinet secretary picks. During a trip to Houston, Texas late last month as it slowly pulled itself together from a deadly winter storm for nearly a week that left almost 4 million Texans without electricity, Biden not only mispronounced the names of prominent Texas Democrats but also questioned himself as he lost his train of thoughts.

"Representatives uh, Shirley [Sheila] Jackson Lee (D-TX), Al Green, Sylvia Garcia, Lizzie Pinnela, uh, excuse me, uh, Pinell, and uh, what am I doing here? I'm gonna lose track here," a confused Biden said as he began his speech without a teleprompter outside the NRG Stadium.

At an event marking International Woman's Day, Biden nominated Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost to lead the US Transportation Command and Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson to lead the US Southern Command. They would be the second and third women to hold such high posts, following retired Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson, who headed US Northern Command from 2016-2018.

"We need little girls and boys both who have grown up dreaming of serving their country to know this is what generals in the United States Armed Forces look like," Biden said earlier before his gaffe during the Monday event where he was flanked by both Van Ovost and Richardson in the State Dining Room.

"They're warriors, they're crisis-tested commanders, but best of all: They're not done yet," Biden added. "These incredible generals are not resting on their laurels or stars."

Both of their nomination must first clear the Senate before being officially confirmed.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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