WASHINGTON — President Biden forgot the name of Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter-in-law Monday while singing “Happy Birthday” on the federal holiday honoring the late civil rights icon
The mortifying moment meant to honor 49-year-old Arndrea Waters King came as the 80-year-old president spoke at an MLK Day event organized by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and co-chaired by Martin Luther King III, 65, and his wife.
“Martin the Third, we celebrate a legacy of your beloved father and mother. They worked for the beloved community. But congratulations today to the honorees including your wife, who I understand it’s her birthday today?” Biden said.
“Well look, my wife has a rule in her family, when it’s someone’s birthday, you sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ You ready?” the president went on before launching into song.
Biden’s eyes appeared to search out the woman’s name on his teleprompters midway through the tune in front of hundreds of guests at Washington’s historic Mayflower Hotel.
“Happy birthday, dear Valz-dvit,” Biden ultimately uttered.
Members of the King family appeared to laugh and shake their heads at the awkward moment.
Biden attempted to bail himself out by adding to his middle-aged honoree, “Well, it’s hell turning 30. But you have to put up with it.”
Biden is the oldest-ever president and his mental acuity frequently is a matter of public debate, though his defenders say he’s just prone to gaffes and a stutter.
In September, the president stunned viewers by asking “Where’s Jackie?” as he looked for the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), despite publicly mourning her death and even calling her family to offer his condolences in August.
Biden has mistakenly referred to his vice president, Kamala Harris, as “President Harris,” on at least six occasions — most recently on Jan. 5.
Biden says that he intends to run for a second term in 2024. He would be 86 years old if he completes a full second term in January 2029.