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Biden makes bizarre joke in front of crowd

By Sarah May on
 March 22, 2023

Well-known for his often-unusual turns of phrase and arguably cringeworthy public observations, President Joe Biden did not disappoint Tuesday during a ceremony honoring female recipients of the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Art, dropping more than one bizarre remark during the course of the event as the Daily Mail reports.

Of the most unexpected comments from the president to the assembled guests occurred when he implored the women on whom he was bestowing awards, “Don't get angry with me if I mess up your hair,” an apparent warning of what might happen as he placed ribboned medals over their coiffures.

Biden greets entertainment luminaries

In total, 24 honorees received awards during the presentation in the East Room of the White House, a group that included actresses Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep and Seinfeld fame and Mindy Kaling of The Office.

Musicians Gladys Knight and Bruce Springsteen were also on hand to receive honors, as was fashion legend Vera Wang.

The president praised the cadre of honorees and said, according to ABC News, that their professional achievements have furthered the nation's “understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens' engagement with history, literature, philosophy, and so many other subjects.”

Biden added, “Above all, you're masters of your craft.”

Teasing 2024

Though he has yet to officially announce his intentions regarding the 2024 presidential race, Biden made a couple of sly analogies to certain honorees that many view as his way of hinting of what is to come.

Musing at the impressive accomplishments of author Colson Whitehead, winner of Pulitzer Prizes for each of two consecutive novels, was the inspiration for what sounded to many like a 2024 tease.

“How in the hell did you do that? Pretty good, man. I'm kinda looking for back-to-back myself,” Biden declared to thunderous audience applause, according to ABC News.

When it was Springsteen's turn to be honored, Biden made yet another seeming nod to the intensifying presidential stakes, joking, “some people are born to run,” an obvious reference to the rocker's 1975 hit.

Meeting Ms. Wang

Another somewhat curious string of Biden commentary dealt with the manner in which he made the acquaintance of Wang, another of the day's honorees, as the Mail noted.

Biden explained that upon being introduced to the renowned fashion designer, he declared, “Every time I open the closet, I see her,” which prompted a shocked reaction from first lady Jill Biden.

“What are you saying that for?” Mrs. Biden reportedly asked her husband, to which he replied, “All of the labels!”

“I guess I could have said it a little better,” Biden admitted, repeating, “When I open the closet, I see you all the time” and later adding, “I know your dresses always look beautiful on my wife, God love her.”

All jokes aside...

Despite Biden's attempt to infuse a bit of “will he or won't he” election humor into the awards ceremony, and amid reports that he is at last whittling the list of possible 2024 campaign managers, some progressives are signaling that his path to a second term is by no means a sure thing.

As Fox News reports, a number of prominent members of the Democratic Party's far-left wing are voicing their very serious concerns about a Biden re-election campaign, citing not just what they characterized as the president's commitment to the “status quo,” but also his advanced age.

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich opined, “I can tell you from experience and observation that the job of the American presidency is physically and mentally grueling even for people in their 40s. If reelected, Biden would be 86 at the end of his second term (assuming he made it to the end). That's deeply worrying.”

Barbara Lawton, former lieutenant governor of Wisconsin was especially biting in her assessment, telling The Nation, “My stomach clenches at the prospect of a venerable president becoming incapable of strong leadership for all the dangers of aging past 80, at the inevitable wince-worthy moments that may accrue to the point of putting our nation at risk,” the risk of which, some might argue, was on full display at the White House on Tuesday.