Biden criticised for suggesting bridge ‘across the Indian Ocean’

‘Who’s going to run that train, SpongeBob?’ conservative columnist tweets

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 16 June 2023 15:24 BST
Related video: ‘Build Back Biden:’ POTUS Slips Up During DC Speech And Admits He’s ‘Going Off-Script’

President Joe Biden is facing criticism for slipping up when outlining a new railroad project, mistakenly saying it would be built across the Indian Ocean.

Mr Biden was speaking to the League of Conservation Voters in Washington DC on Wednesday night, saying, “We have plans to build a railroad from the Pacific all the way across the Indian Ocean”.

“We have plans to build in Angola one of the largest solar plants in the world,” Mr Biden added. “I can go on, but I’m not. I’m going off-script. I’m going to get in trouble.”

There’s no proposal to build a railroad covering the third largest ocean on the planet, and conservatives were quick to capitalise on the slip-up, with the Twitter account RNC Research sharing the clip on Wednesday night.

Last week, during a visit from UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Mr Biden made a similar mistake, before correcting himself, saying that “We’re talking about building — and I had my team putting together with other countries as well — to build a railroad from the Pacific Ocean — from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Indian Ocean”.

Africa is surrounded by the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea, but not the Pacific.

Before fumbling his words, Mr Biden spoke about how the US is planning on helping developing countries combat the climate crisis.

“We’ve mobilised the world’s leading emitters to help poorer countries deal with the impacts of climate change. They called it, at the G7, the Build Back Biden — Build Back Better. And we realized that got confusing,” the president said to laughter in the room.

“Here’s the bottom line – We’re the ones that caused the problem, the United States. We cleared all our land. We did all the things that make things more easy for us to make money. Not a bad thing at the time. No one really fully understood,” he added. “But we, the major emitters in the world, have an obligation to help those countries.”

“Soon, Africa will have one billion people. China has their Belt and Road Initiative. It turned out to be their debt and destruction initiative. No, I’m serious. Not a joke. Well, we’re going to win, and we’re going to help,” Mr Biden said, seemingly arguing that the US will take on China in their soft power push to help poorer nations with infrastructure projects, which critics have claimed are exploitative, with some calling it a “debt trap”.

Mr Biden was mocked by Twitter users for his railroad slip, with conservative columnist Ian Haworth tweeting: “Who’s going to run that train, SpongeBob?”

Former Utah Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz tweeted: “Bold initiative, Mr. President.”

The communications director for Republican Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, Abigail Marone, wrote: “Put grandpa to bed.”

The DeSantis War Room simply tweeted: “Ambitious.”

Right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro made a dig about Mr Biden’s age, writing, “He does remember Pangea so.”

“I for one am booking a seat on the first ever rail trip to the Indian Ocean. You laugh but the beverage car is gonna be sick,” Philadelphia talk radio host Rich Zeoli wrote.

Mr Biden’s reelection effort was endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, NextGen PAC, and the Sierra Club on Wednesday evening, the New York Post noted.

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