Speed Reads

'that fellow Down Under'

Australians think Biden forgot their prime minister's name at nuclear submarine event

The U.S., Britain, and Australia shared some big news on Wednesday, announcing a trilateral pact — AUKUS — aimed at outfitting Australia with nuclear-powered submarines that will be able to patrol the Indo-Pacific region and, they did not say, help keep China's military in check. The agreement was announced by President Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and, um, that other guy.

"Thank you Boris," Biden toward the TV screen broadcasting Johnson, then he turned to the other screen. "And I want to thank that fellow Down Under. Thank you very much, pal. Appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister." If you also can't quite come up with the name of Australia's fifth prime minister in eight years, it's Scott Morrison. Or perhaps Biden was making a Men at Work reference.

In any case, "Biden did subsequently address Morrison by name, and a White House official pointed out that the president had most recently spoken with the Australian prime minister on Sept. 2," Politico reports. "Regardless, the Australian media jumped on the apparent slip-up, with the Australian, 9 News, news.com.au, Sky News, and others zeroing in on it." 

"Biden isn't the first world leader who may have needed help remembering the Australian prime minister," Politico adds. "German Chancellor Angela Merkel was photographed flipping through a crib sheet featuring a photo and notes on Morrison when she met him at a G20 summit in 2018."