President Biden on Friday incorrectly called South Korean President Moon Jae-in “Prime Minister” – a day after he also botched the title of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Biden made the last breathtaking remark while presenting the Medal of Honor to 94-year-old Korean War veteran Ralph Puckett.
“The people of the Republic of Korea have not forgotten, as evidenced by the fact that the Prime Minister of Korea is here for this ceremony,” Biden told Puckett.
On Thursday evening, Biden called Netanyahu “President Netanyahu” while delivering a speech celebrating an Israel-Hamas ceasefire.
Friday’s awards show featured Biden and Moon headlining an unmasked and non-socially distanced celebration in the East Room of the White House.
Moon praised Puckett’s work against the Communists in the Battle for Hill 205 in 1950.
In a remarkable break with the practices of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event featured hugs and handshakes – in contrast to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s policy to always demand masks from each other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, despite widespread vaccination.
Biden and Moon knelt on either side of Puckett for a photo with his family.
âEarlier Colonel Puckett told me that when he was in Korea during the Korean War, it was completely destroyed. It was true, âMoon said. âBut from the ashes of the Korean War, we have risen, we have come back. And it was thanks to the Korean War veterans who fought for peace and freedom in Korea. And right now, thanks to their support and efforts, we are enjoying prosperity.
Moon said he was told he was the first foreign leader to attend a ceremony for the top US military honor.
Biden said at the event that Puckett initially rejected the offer of an awards show.
“I understand your first response to hosting this event was to ask yourself, ‘Why all the noise, why all this noise, can’t they just send it to me in the mail? Biden said.
The president joked, “I was going to play a joke on the post, but I decided not to.”
The medal presentation served as a sweet opening to Biden’s discussions with Moon, who is his second foreign visitor as president. Vice President Kamala Harris welcomed Moon to the White House grounds on Friday morning.