Joe Biden mocked by critics after West Point speech gaffe

President Joe Biden was mocked by his critics on social media after he seemed to have lost his train of thought during a speech to West Point cadets graduating from the United States Military Academy in New York on Saturday.

Biden talked about current conflicts that the world is facing, including the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. He mentioned the various missions that service members are conducting in Ukraine to help the war-torn nation in the conflict.

“We are standing strong with Ukraine and we will stand with them. We are standing against a man who I have known well for many years, a brutal tyrant, and we will not walk away,” the president said.

When talking about how Russian President Vladimir Putin had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, starting a war that is now over two years old, Biden seemed to trail off.

President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable at the White House on May 22 in Washington, D.C. Biden was mocked by his critics on social media after he seemed to have lost his train of…

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“Putin was certain that NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] would fracture. I met with him right after being elected president before, right after I was sworn in, and we talked about this very issue. The fall, he attacked that fall—he decided to, look, I shouldn’t get into this probably. It gets me a little excited,” Biden said.

He continued: “Putin was certain that NATO would fracture. I said to him in Switzerland, if you want to Finlandization of Ukraine, you’re going to get the Finlandization, you’re going to get the NATO-ization of Europe. He had a brazen vision which we stepped up and stopped. Instead, today, the greatest defense alliance in the history of the world, stronger than ever.”

Finlandization is a term used in diplomatic discourse that refers to Finland’s neutral stance during the Cold War. In 1948, Finland signed a treaty with the Soviet Union. As part of the treaty, Finland could not join Western security and defense organizations. The treaty dissolved in 1992 and Finland ultimately joined NATO in April 2023.

RNC Research, an account on X, formerly Twitter, managed by the Republican National Committee (RNC), posted a clip of Biden’s speech gaffe on Saturday, writing that Biden was “confused again.”

X user @TiffMoodNukes, who has amassed 179,700 followers, wrote: “Joe Biden is finished.”

“Breaking News: Joe Biden couldn’t give his speech at West Point,” X user Wendy Patterson, who has 174,700 followers, posted.

X user @JannaPart2, who identifies as part of former President Donald Trump‘s MAGA (Make America Great Again) movement and has 108,700 followers, jokingly wrote, “Is this dude smokin’ crack ???” and attached a meme of Biden that read: “If You’re Thinking Of Voting For Me, Don’t.”

Newsweek reached out to the White House and Biden’s campaign via email for comment.

Biden, the Democratic incumbent, and Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, have faced criticism for various speech gaffes as they campaign for November’s presidential election. At a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, last week, Trump made a series of bizarre comments, calling Hannibal Lecter, the serial killer protagonist from The Silence of the Lambs, “a wonderful man.” He also accidentally called former President Jimmy Carter “Jimmy Connors.”

With Biden being 81 years old and Trump nearing 78, mental fitness has been a major talking point of this campaign cycle.

According to a Pew Research Center poll from last month, 47 percent of registered voters are not at all confident that Biden has the mental fitness needed for the job and 35 percent said the same for Trump. The poll was conducted from April 8 to 14 and surveyed 7,166 registered voters. The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.