President Joe Biden failed to recognize Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago at a graduation ceremony at Howard University on Saturday, during which he warned of the dangers of white supremacy.
Rowley, in office since 2015, was one of the honorees at Howard’s commencement. The historically black college (HBCU) recognized Rowley, who trained in geology and geography and worked as a volcanologist.
Biden, however, could not bring himself to pronounce Rowley’s full name, and he appeared to mischaracterize Rowley’s academic background, identifying him as a foreign policy expert (a “Latin Ameican guy”).
Trinidad & Tobago's Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley received an honorary doctorate degree from Howard University today.
US President Joe Biden joked: "Prime Minister, I didn't know you were so talented… we gotta talk"
(📸/🎥: YouTube/Howard U) pic.twitter.com/MEKCeEpnyl
— Anselm Gibbs (@AnselmGibbs) May 13, 2023
Biden said (via White House transcript):
And it’s truly special — special to join fellow honorees. Prime Minister Rowley of — (laughs) — Prime Minister — Prime Minister, I didn’t know you were so talented. (Laughter.) I just thought you were foreign policies — you know, Latin American guy. I — you know, I — we got to talk. (Laughter.)
All kidding aside, thank you for being a strong partner in the Caribbean and for addressing climate change and supporting democracies across the Western Hemisphere.
Later in his address, Biden told the largely black audience that white supremacist terrorism was the greatest threat to the U.S.:
BIDEN at Howard University: "The most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland is white supremacy, and I'm not saying this because I'm at a Black HBCU…" pic.twitter.com/qPL3bkGsCx
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 13, 2023
The remark recalled Biden’s 2012 statement to a predominantly black audience in Virginia that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, now considered a moderate, would “put y’all back in chains.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.