On March 8, President Biden seemed to forget the name of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and where he worked in a White House event to announce the nomination of two female generals to lead combatant commands. Since the theme of Biden’s mental acuity is still considered a Trump meme, the media desperately wanted to forget this happened.
It recalls an old moment the media loved to recount, when President Reagan greeted his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Samuel Pierce (like Austin, a black man) as “Mr. Mayor” at an event with a receiving line for mayors in 1981. The New York Times liked that enough that they recounted it in Pierce’s obituary in 2000: “The widely reported anecdote clearly embarrassed Mr. Pierce and dogged him for the rest of his cabinet tenure.”
Now compare that to Biden, who proclaimed -- “And I want to thank the sec — the, ah former general. I keep calling him general, but my — the guy who runs that outfit over there. I want to make sure we thank the secretary for all he’s done to try to implement what we just talked about. And for recommending these two women for promotion.”
A short Washington Post account by Felicia Sonmez couldn’t squeeze in this embarrassing/amusing gaffe. The New York Times story by Eric Schmitt and Helene Cooper skipped over it in a story that carried the headline “Biden Endorses Female Generals Whose Promotions Were Delayed Over Fears of Trump’s Reaction.” This anti-Trump angle wasn’t even “news,” since on February 17 the same reporters offered a story headlined “Promotions for Female Generals Were Delayed Over Fears of Trump’s Reaction.”
Schmitt and Cooper rattled on against Trump for 875 words, but couldn’t mention the Biden “brain cramp.” They repeated that Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delayed these nominations because they “feared that if they even broached the women’s names, Mr. Trump and some of his top aides would replace them with their own candidates before leaving office.”
They even worked in star first-impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, “who left the military last summer after his own entanglement with the White House, [and] argued in the national security blog Lawfare that Mr. Esper and General Milley should have fought it out with Mr. Trump.”
The media would probably employ the excuse that Biden mentioned Austin by name earlier at the event when he appeared to be reading from a teleprompter. CNN’s afternoon program The Lead with Jake Tapper ran the entire event live, including the gaffe at the end, but when it was over, substitute host Pamela Brown turned to White House reporter Kaitlan Collins and they turned it back to the topic of Trump’s reported sexism.
MSNBC’s program Deadline: White House ran several minutes of Biden’s prepared remarks, ducking out before the gaffe. Later that night, MSNBC's Brian Williams ran a clip of Vice President Kamala Harris from the event, and then introduced a clip of former Sen. Claire McCaskill: “Today that was simply too much for a former senator who knows both of these generals and regards it as a crime and a tragedy that their promotions had to be kept away from President Trump.”
ABC’s World News Tonight offered a 61-word story read by anchorman David Muir, touting Biden’s action on International Women’s Day and recounting the president said “young women beginning their military career should know, quote, ‘no door will be closed to them.’
Is it any wonder that half of America thinks the press is in the tank for Biden?