President Joe Biden appeared to stumble over details of his daughter’s 2012 wedding on Thursday, forgetting which hymn he requested be played and admitting at one point his mind was “blank.”
Biden’s struggles came during a virtual event to mark the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays.
Most of the event concentrated on discussions about Afghanistan, antisemitic attacks, and hope for the future, but towards the end, Biden, who is Catholic, called for religious cooperation and cited his daughter’s wedding in which she married Howard Krein, a Jewish physician.
“We wanted to have a co-confessional wedding,” the president said. “And we had a chuppah on the altar, and we had a co- … it was co-officiated. Now, some of you aren’t going to like this, but it was co-officiated by a Catholic priest as well as a Jewish rabbi.”
Biden then attempted to recall the Catholic hymn, which he said was a favorite of his, but could not name it.
“I only asked one thing. There’s a psalm-based, there’s a hymn, my favorite hymn in the Catholic Church based on a psalm, and it’s — it’s a psalm that talks about life. And so, I — I asked if that ps- — that psalm — that hymn in the Catholic Church,” Biden said, according to a White House transcript.
“And it says, ‘May He lift you up on Eagle’s wings and bear you on the breath of dawn, and let the light shine upon you,’ et cetera, and — ‘and hold you in the palm of his hand,'” Biden continued.
“And they played — and I’m — my mind is going blank now. What’s the song that is played where everybody is on the chair? Everybody, you know — what — what — I can’t remember it. Anyway.
And that’s the song that was played,” he added.
During the same event, Biden also claimed to Jewish leaders that he went to Pittsburgh and visited the Tree of Life synagogue following an October 2018 mass shooting in which 11 people were killed.
“And the point I’m trying to make here is that I used to think coming out of the Civil Rights Movement and being involved in the Jewish community as a kid, and the Civil Rights Movement — in Delaware — I used to think that hate could be defeated, it could be wiped out,” he said.
“But I learned a long time ago, it can’t. It only hides. It hides. It hides under the rocks. And given any oxygen at all, it comes out. It’s a minority view, but it comes out and it comes out raging,” the president continued.
“And it’s been given too much oxygen in the last 4, 5, 7, 10 years, and it has seen itself, whether it was — I remember spending time at the — you know, going to the — you know, the Tree of Life Synagogue, speaking with the — just — it just is amazing these things are happening — happening in America.”
However, Barb Feige, who has been the executive director of the Tree of Life since July 2019, said in an interview with the New York Post that Biden, in fact, did not go there. The Post reported that she was a firm “no” when asked if the then-former vice president traveled there.
Then-President Donald Trump, however, did visit the synagogue three days after what had become the deadliest antisemitic hate crime in the country’s history. He went with a number of Jewish members of his administration including daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, The Post noted.
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