In a lighthearted pre-Thanksgiving ceremony where Joe Biden granted pardons to turkeys Liberty and Bell at the White House on Monday, the president (gasp!) appeared to confuse Taylor Swift with Britney Spears.
In a reference to the more than 1,000-mile journey the two turkeys took to arrive at the White House, Biden attempted to make a joke, saying, “You can say it’s harder than getting a ticket to the Renaissance tour or…,” before trailing off, seemingly struggling to remember Swift’s name and her Eras tour.
“Or Britney’s tour,” he finally stated. “She’s down in—it’s kind of warm in Brazil right now.”
Swift performed in Brazil on Sunday night after delaying her Saturday concert due to the death of 23-year-old fan Ana Clara Benevides, who suffered a cardiac arrest on Friday amid sweltering heat at Nilton Santos Stadium.
The White House did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment on the gaffe, which took place on the president’s 81st birthday. In the same speech, Biden made fun of his own age, declaring, “As much of you know, it’s difficult turning 60.”
He later said, “This is the 76th anniversary of this event. I want you to know I wasn’t there, and I was too young to make it up.”
Biden also tried to brighten the mood with turkey jokes, saying, “These birds have a new appreciation for the word, ‘Let freedom ring.’”
According to the White House, the pardoning of turkeys began with President Harry S. Truman, but there are rumors that President Abraham Lincoln was actually the first to offer clemency due to pleas from his son, Tad.