A drowsy President Joe Biden witnessed his lengthy press conference in Vietnam abruptly brought to a close on Sunday evening, as his microphone was cut and jazz music played over his speech to escort him off the stage, reminiscent of being cut short during an awards speech.
During the midst of answering inquiries from journalists, Biden was unexpectedly interrupted and compelled to retreat backstage.
As he rambled on in his response, Biden remarked, “We touched upon matters of stability and the accessibility of change within the Third World, I apologize, I mean the Southern Hemisphere. It was in no way confrontational…”
Suddenly, Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary, interrupted with her resounding voice. “Thank you all. This marks the end of the press conference. Thank you, everyone,” she declared, effectively concluding the presser.
Meanwhile, Biden continued speaking, oblivious to the fact that his microphone had been muted.
In a strange turn of events, jazz music began to play over the loudspeaker, while the 80-year-old president valiantly attempted to respond to questions, still speaking into the microphone.
As the president struggled to answer a few more inquiries, the music grew louder, prompting Biden to put away his leather-backed folder and make his exit, disappearing behind a black curtain.
Whispering to himself, he walked off the stage and even uttered the now-famous phrase, “lying dog-faced pony soldier,” during the 26-minute engagement with the press, utilizing a predetermined list of reporters to call upon.
After spending two days in India for the G20 Leaders’ Summit, Biden swiftly traveled to Vietnam on Sunday to enhance diplomatic relations between the two nations, culminating in a press conference.
In what was supposed to be a showcase of his stamina – as he circled the globe in just five days – the 80-year-old commander-in-chief made light-hearted remarks about his confusion regarding whether it was morning or night, ending the presser by jokingly stating, “I’m going to go to bed.”
He entertained the reporters with a story he claimed was from a John Wayne movie, featuring “Indians” – not the ones he recently met with – who remain skeptical when a Union soldier assures them that “everything will be good” if they return to the reservation.
“And the Indian looks at John Wayne and points to the Union soldier and says, ‘He’s a lying dog-faced pony soldier.’ Well, there are countless lying dog-faced pony soldiers out there regarding global warming. But not anymore,” Biden whispered into the microphone, remarking, “All of a sudden, they’re all realizing it’s a problem.”
The president was queried about his concerns regarding the lack of an agreement on fossil fuels that emerged from the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi.
He previously employed the phrase “lying dog-faced pony soldier” during a 2020 campaign event in New Hampshire and at a subsequent event in Connecticut, where he also muttered, “God save the Queen, man.”
The press conference commenced over an hour later than planned, with the president acknowledging that his aides had informed him of the individuals he would be calling upon.
“They gave me five people here,” Biden mentioned, adhering to his habit of both calling on and discussing the list apologetically.
“I’m just following my orders here,” he stated at another point, glancing at his list to select another news organization or name, while reporters in the audience desperately shouted and gestured to be chosen.
The line of questioning during the press conference heavily focused on China, while President Biden avoided addressing other important topics. He neglected to comment on the growing partnership between Russia and North Korea, as well as Ukraine’s dissatisfaction with the G20 statement regarding the conflict, which failed to acknowledge Russia as the aggressor.
Furthermore, it seemed that Biden favored certain journalists, disregarding a group of US print and TV reporters who intended to raise concerns about his low approval ratings due to his age and the potential indictment of his son, Hunter, on a gun charge.
Recent polls reflect widespread unease about Biden’s age should he pursue a second term. An AP-NORC survey conducted last week found that 77% of Americans, including 69% of Democrats, believe Biden is too old for re-election. Similarly, a Wall Street Journal poll released on Monday revealed that 73% of voters, including two-thirds of Democrats, consider Biden too old to run again.
While White House aides insisted that Biden’s demanding international trip demonstrated his ability to handle the presidency effectively, some moments raised eyebrows. At the start of the press conference, Biden quipped, “It is evening, isn’t it?” He later remarked, “This around the world in five days is interesting,” and jokingly added, “no problem” to reference the busy schedule.
During the event, Biden momentarily walked away from the podium, causing a brief perception that he was abandoning the press conference. Though he moved towards a chosen reporter, it was noticeable that all five selected individuals were women, a fact the journalist from Voice of America, an independent US-backed media outlet, pointed out. She thanked the president but made it clear that the all-female lineup did not guarantee easy questions.
Biden playfully responded, “Oh, I know better than that. If you sent me a softball, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I’d probably strike out even worse.”
After answering one of the questions posed to him by Voice of America, Biden concluded the press conference by stating, “I tell you what, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go to bed.”
The president’s critics criticized his clumsy comments, suggesting that he would face challenges if reelected for a second term.
“Biden’s confusion during his ‘press conference’ in Vietnam,” tweeted RNC Research.
Former Trump senior adviser Jason Miller added, “And Democrats question why Biden’s polling numbers aren’t higher.”
The tweet from FuriaDiDonna sarcastically referred to a movie that remains deeply ingrained in Vietnam’s collective memory.
Booker9e pointed out, “So he’s joking in Vietnam about a catchphrase from a (great) movie that reflects the US being at war in their country??”
Biden initiated the press conference by saying, “One of my staff members mentioned the famous song ‘Good Morning Vietnam?’ Well, good evening, Vietnam!” Biden mistakenly referred to the Robin Williams’ movie as a song.
“And good morning back in America,” he added.
Released in 1987, the film became a major success, portraying the story of Airman Adrian Cronauer, who arrived in Saigon in 1965 to work as a DJ for Armed Forces Radio as the war escalated.
Starting each show with the iconic catchphrase “Good morning, Vietnam!”, Cronauer, portrayed by Williams, infuriates his superiors with his rock and roll playlist and satirical commentary on the war’s conduct.
Williams received the funniest actor award at the American Comedy Awards, and the movie’s soundtrack, featuring the Beach Boys, James Brown, and the Searchers, achieved platinum status.