CNN Hosts Defend Biden Gaffe THREE TIMES By Referencing Trump

CNN This Morning hosts Phil Mattingly not once, not twice, but three times defended President Joe Biden on Friday as they sought to deflect from his Thursday gaffe where he claimed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was actually the president of Mexico by referencing what they considered to be similar examples from Donald Trump.

In the 6:00 Eastern hour there was a panel discussion on whether the gaffe mattered and senior political analyst John Avlon and commentator Errol Louis took the negative side with the former claiming, “I think Errol’s making a big point, it’s the difference between a slip and a mistake and mistakes have consequences.”

Louis added that a real gaffe could be seen in Gerald Ford, “No, no, Gerald Ford going way back in a presidential debate saying that Poland is not being influenced by the Soviet Union. That’s a problem because that’s a substantive problem.”

Former legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin not only managed to keep his pants on but was less optimistic that Biden’s gaffe could just be explained away. After he led the panel into a digression about Poland, Solidarity, and Lech Wałęsa, Mattingly chimed in to add, “Worth noting Donald Trump said Viktor Orban was the leader of Turkey last night. That is obviously not true.”

Biden has also flubbed the names of two other leaders just this week. First, Biden confused French President Emmanuel Macron for François Mitterrand, who died in 1996, and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is a woman, for Helmut Kohl who died in 2017 and was a man.

Another problem for Biden is not just that he had a gaffe, but that Special Counsel Robert Hur wrote that Biden couldn’t remember the years he was vice president and that he couldn’t win a conviction in the classified documents case because a jury would view him as a sympathetic old man with memory problems.

Former Bush official Jamil Jaffer made this point during the 7:00 hour, “So, that’s obviously very damaging when you add on to the fact the questions that Rob Hur raises about President Biden’s current capability to describe the situation to remember events and then, unfortunately, to Kate’s point, the way the president performed just last night, mixing up the presidents of Mexico and Egypt. I mean, this is a real challenge for the president. It’s going to cause him difficulties in the upcoming election, and that’s going to be a challenge for him going forward, without a doubt.”

A terse Harlow simply replied, “Right, Trump called Orban the president of Turkey last night also.”

It should be noted that there are no news reports of Trump calling Orban the president of Turkey on Thursday. Perhaps Harlow and Mattingly were seeing liberals defend Biden on Twitter by reposting a clip of Trump from October.

In the 8:00 hour, Mattingly was interviewing Democratic Rep. Daniel Goldman and in a tone that indicated he would rather not discuss the gaffe but was being compelled to, he asked, “What it also created, though, there was a moment where he conflated or mixed up Mexico with Egypt. And to be clear, a couple of hours later, Donald Trump thought the leader of Hungary was actually the leader of Turkey. This is just a name flub, but it is a moment and it’s a moment at a time when voters are concerned and I know the president pushed back on that, people get frustrated about that, but it’s just true.”

For his part, Goldman referenced a Speaker Mike Johnson flub, “Yeah, it is also true that Speaker Mike Johnson went on Meet the Press and confused Iran and Israel, which is a much more significant mistake than President Sisi as being in Mexico, but I’m not going to sit here saying Mike Johnson has no memory loss or, you know, that he’s ill-equipped to be Speaker of the House because he made an obvious, incidental, tangential mistake.”

Yes, people who speak live and on camera make mistakes, but not everybody has a special prosecutor claim they are too forgetful to be convicted of hoarding classified documents. That is the difference between Trump, Johnson, and Biden.

Here is a transcript for February 9 show:

CNN This Morning

2/9/2024

6:13 AM ET

JOHN AVLON: I think Errol’s making a big point, it’s the difference between a slip and a mistake and mistakes have consequences. 

POPPY HARLOW: It’s not the first. 

AVLON: It’s not great. 

POPPY HARLOW: It’s not the first.

ERROL LOUIS: No, no, Gerald Ford going way back—

AVLON: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

LOUIS: –in a presidential debate saying that Poland is not being influenced by the Soviet Union. That’s a problem because that’s a substantive problem. 

JEFFREY TOOBIN: And then he actually turned out to be right because that’s what Solidarity and Lech Wałęsa—

[crosstalk]

AVLON: Come on. Come on Toobin. 

PHIL MATTINGLY: Now we’re going towards the direction – 

TOOBIN: I think we need to talk about Poland in the 1980s. I’m sorry. 

MATTINGLY: No, that was actually the second topic on the panel, we just got to it.

AVLON: I’ve got a Solidarity poster in my office.

MATTINGLY: We got a lot more to get to, guys, stay with us. Worth noting Donald Trump said Viktor Orban—

HARLOW: Yeah.

MATTINGLY: — was the leader of Turkey last night. That is obviously not true.

***

7:09 AM ET

JAMIL JAFFER: So, that’s obviously very damaging when you add on to the fact the questions that Rob Hur raises about President Biden’s current capability to describe the situation to remember events and then, unfortunately, to Kate’s point, the way the president performed just last night, mixing up the presidents of Mexico and Egypt. I mean, this is a real challenge for the president. It’s going to cause him difficulties in the upcoming election, and that’s going to be a challenge for him going forward, without a doubt.

HARLOW: Right, Trump called Orban the president of Turkey last night also.

***

8:15 AM ET

MATTINGLY: What it also created, though, there was a moment where he conflated or mixed up Mexico with Egypt.

And to be clear, a couple of hours later, Donald Trump thought the leader of Hungary was actually the leader of Turkey. This is just a name flub, but it is a moment and it’s a moment at a time when voters are concerned and I know the president pushed back on that, people get frustrated about that, but it’s just true.

DANIEL GOLDMAN: Yeah, it is also true that Speaker Mike Johnson went on Meet the Press and confused Iran and Israel, which is a much more significant mistake than President Sisi as being in Mexico, but I’m not going to sit here saying Mike Johnson has no memory loss or, you know, that he’s ill-equipped to be Speaker of the House because he made an obvious, incidental, tangential mistake.

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