President Biden is gaffe-prone. We know this. It’s well-established. Accordingly, you’d think Biden’s staff would attempt to mitigate, i.e., never put Biden in a position where he has to say, ‘LL Cool J,’ which is exactly what happened over the weekend.
Did anyone think the octogenarian President, with a tendency to misspeak, was going to be able to nail LL Cool J? Vegas odds were low on Biden getting the rapper’s name out of his mouth unhindered. And predictably, Biden botched the delivery.
Speaking at the Phoenix Awards dinner on Saturday, Biden helped to deliver an award to LL Cool J.
“Representing the groundbreaking legacy of hip hop in America, LL J Cool J,” Biden said. He almost got there. Pretty close. It is a tongue-twister, under pressure, in public. And I’ve got a feeling Biden has never really heard of LL Cool J before. So I’m willing to cut the president some slack and blame the staff who thought Biden could handle the name LL Cool J in real-time.
But Biden didn’t stop there. Whether he was speaking off-the-cuff, or from prepared remarks, I’m not sure – but either way, it was ill-advised.
“By the way, that boy’s got – that man’s got biceps bigger than my thighs,” Biden said in reference to LL Cool J’s physique. Not great.
Joe Biden Not Doing Himself Any Favors
“The latest mistake comes as Republicans seek to draw attention to Biden’s gaffes,” Newsweek reported, “saying that he may not have the mental ability to serve another four-year term if reelected next year.”
That’s a reasonable point. Biden may not have the juice to serve another four years, although, I’m not sure that mispronouncing LL Cool J is indicative of Biden’s cognitive decline. Calling a 50-something-year-old Black man ‘boy’ isn’t indicative of Biden’s cognitive decline either, although, it serves as a strong reminder that Biden comes from a different generation. An older generation. Young people aren’t in the habit of calling Black men ‘boys.’ That’s an old-person thing. And it sounds quite awful.
Trump’s former communication director, Tim Murtaugh, wrote on social media that “if any Republican said this, there would be an eruption of outrage from the media that would be ongoing. And everyone knows it. But they’ll just let Biden slide on this like they’ve done for all the other racist things he’s said over the decades.”
Fair point. The media has not seized on Biden’s gaffe in the way they would have had Trump called LL Cool J ‘boy.’
Biden Has Bigger Problems
Even though mispronouncing LL Cool J, in and of itself, is not indicative of Biden’s cognitive decline, the clip in general does support the idea that Biden is sundowning. He just looks and sounds old. His mind doesn’t seem sharp. The mispronunciation is just a small part of that perception. It’s his voice and his eyes and the way he trails off and his seeming lack of self-awareness. He looks and sounds old. And that’s a problem that’s going to persist for Biden long after people forget that he ever called LL Cool J ‘boy.’
About the Author
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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