Joe Biden baffles with “God Save the Queen” at the end of a speech : A comment by the president at the end of a speech last week left observers, whether they support or oppose the president, scratching their heads.
Poor Joe Biden…
For President Joe Biden to say strange things is certainly not a new phenomenon, even when the now 80-year-old Biden was much younger than he is now.
But a comment by the president last week left a lot of people scratching their heads.
According to Axios, Joe Biden gave a speech last Friday at the National Safer Communities Summit in Connecticut, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the passage of his bipartisan law aimed at curbing gun violence. At the end of the speech, he exclaimed, “God Save the Queen, man!”
Why did he say this? It’s not clear. “God Save the Queen” — to the same tune as “My Country ’Tis of Thee” — is the national anthem of the United Kingdom. Or at least, it is when the English monarch is a woman, which as of last year is no longer the case; the song is currently presented as “God Save the King.” “God Save the Queen” is also a completely different song by the punk band The Sex Pistols, from 1977, although Biden has given no indication in his career that he’s a fan of punk rock.
There have been a few explanations as to why Biden said that in the speech. A White House Deputy Press Secretary stated to the media that Biden “was commenting to someone in the crowd,” but the White House did not respond further.
White House pool reporters didn’t seem to know what the story was either.
“Several of you have asked me why he might have said that,” Todd Gillman, White House correspondent for The Dallas Morning News, wrote Friday, per USA Today. “I have no idea. Other pooler likewise have no idea.”
Biden has used the phrase before, most notably when he was vice president and certified the electoral college victory of Donald Trump in 2017.
“Biden’s quirky aphorisms are sometimes weaponized by Republicans to insinuate the 80-year-old president is in mental decline,” Axios said of the statement. “But Biden has been using unique phrases for years — but even some of his aides aren’t exactly sure what he means by them… There are legitimate questions about Biden’s age and stamina as he runs for a second term — but his off-beat proverbs are just Biden being Biden.”
The site added that as a “proud Irishman,” Biden is likely using the term ironically, although he did attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II last year.
Per Fox News, more than one conservative suggested using the “God Save the Queen” incident as a pretext to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Biden from office. However, the statement was proceeded by Biden delivering an entire lengthy speech without any further incident.
Speaking of Fox News, the cable news outlet last week drew fire for including the chyron “Wannabe Dictator Speaks at White House After Having His Political Rival Arrested.” The chyron appeared for 27 seconds before it was taken down. Fox later said that “the chyron was taken down immediately and was addressed.”
The Daily Beast reported the following day that the producer deemed responsible for the chyron, Alex McCaskill, had parted ways with the network. McCaskill had formerly worked as a producer for Tucker Carlson’s show before it was axed earlier this year. McCaskill went on to post a photo to Instagram of himself carrying a box of his belongings out of the network’s New York headquarters.
“It’s been a wild 10 years and it was the best place I’ve ever worked because of the great people I met,” the now-former employee said in his post. “But the time has come. I asked them to let me go, and they finally did.” Carlson himself defended his former employee in an episode of his Twitter show.
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.