President Joe Biden forgot Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter-in-law’s name on Monday (Jan. 16) while singing “Happy Birthday” to her on the federal holiday that honors the late iconic civil rights activist.
The embarrassing moment, meant to honor 49-year-old Arndrea Waters King for receiving the MLK Visionary Award, came during the 80-year-old president’s speech at the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast. “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?” asked the president before he began singing.
Everybody present at the event organized by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and co-chaired by Martin Luther King III, 65, and his wife, sang the birthday song. When it was time to say her name, Biden appeared to have stuttered and called Arndrea what sounded like, “Valz-dvit.”
People in attendance at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. seemed to laugh and shake their heads in disbelief, and it’s uncertain if the president apologized to her. Arndrea has been married to King III since 2006. The couple has one daughter, Yolanda Renee King.
This comes one day after Biden went to Atlanta to deliver remarks at Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was once led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1960 until his assassination in 1968. Biden became the first-ever active president to do so. Also during today’s speech, the president attacked Republicans for being “fiscally demented” as he urged a reduction in the federal deficit of $1 trillion.
“Hear me, that’s a fact. And there’s going to be hundreds of billions reduced over the next decade,” Biden shared. He then referenced the GOP, saying, “But so what? These guys, well, they’re fiscally demented, I think.”