Washington, D.C. – November 21, 2023
President Joe Biden found himself in the spotlight on his 81st birthday during the “White House’s annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon ceremony.” In a moment that quickly went viral on social media, Biden appeared to confuse pop sensations Taylor Swift and Britney Spears while discussing the journey of two turkeys, Liberty and Bell, to the ceremony.
During his speech, Biden remarked, “You could say it’s even harder than getting a ticket to the Renaissance tour or for Britney’s tour. She’s down in… it’s kind of warm in Brazil right now.” The mix-up raised eyebrows as Britney Spears has not been on tour since 2018, and “Renaissance” likely refers to Beyoncé’s concluded Renaissance World Tour.
Swift, who is currently on an international tour and recently performed in Brazil, became unintentionally entangled in the confusion. Tragically, one of Swift’s fans reportedly passed away at a concert venue in Brazil on Friday amid extreme heat conditions.
Critics seized the opportunity to question Biden’s age and attention to detail, especially as he faces increasing scrutiny ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Despite remaining the Democratic front-runner, Biden has been the subject of inquiries regarding his ability to connect with young voters and occasional gaffes.
Social media echoed with comments from Biden’s critics. Conservative commentator Greg Price pointed out the inaccuracies in Biden’s references, while Amber Duke, an editor for the conservative British publication The Spectator, highlighted the confusion between Taylor Swift and Britney Spears.
Other commentators, such as Ian Miles Cheong, noted Biden’s failed attempt to reference Taylor Swift, characterizing the incident as a spectacular failure.
This recent gaffe adds to a series of verbal missteps by Biden in recent months. In October, he incorrectly stated the timing of his first visit to Israel, and in September, he mixed up the name of rapper LL Cool J during a speech at the “Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual Legislative Conference.” The accumulating incidents have raised concerns from both Republicans and Democrats about Biden’s communication and attention to factual details.
Additionally, a September NBC News poll showed that 59% of Americans have major concerns about Biden’s mental and physical health for a potential second term as president. As the political landscape evolves, these concerns may continue to shape public perception of the Biden administration.