Biden confuses Switzerland, Sweden in NATO speeches
Well, they start with the same letter …
President Biden announced on Thursday that he had called Swiss leaders to discuss abandoning two centuries of neutrality to join NATO – before he quickly corrected himself and said he actually meant Sweden.
“Part of the American press remembers when I got a phone call from the Finnish leader who said he could come and meet me, then he came the next day and said: ‘Will you support my accession – my country joins NATO? “We got the phone call. He suggested we call the leader of Switzerland,” Biden said.
The president immediately fixed his mistake and added: “Switzerland, my God, I’m really worried here about expanding NATO – of Sweden.”
Biden spoke at a press conference in Madrid after a NATO summit in which Finland and Sweden were officially invited to join the military alliance in response to the more than four-month-old Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sweden had been neutral in Europe’s various military engagements since the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century, when it lost control of Finland to Russia.
Finland was neutral since World War II, when it lost a significant part of its territory to the Soviet Union.
Biden, who turns 80 this year, has mixed up the names of countries in the past. Last month, he mistakenly said “North Korea” when he meant “South Korea” when he listed supporters of US sanctions against Russia.
Last year, he mixed Libya and Syria when talking about potential areas of cooperation with Russia.
The addition of Finland and Sweden brings the number of nations in NATO to 32 after Turkey dropped its objections to the Nordic countries joining the bloc.