Rishi Sunak has officially become the UK’s new prime minister after Liz Truss’ short-lived Downing Street tenure. He is already receiving congratulations from many politicians across the world, and US President Joe Biden is among them… albeit with a twist.
Joe Biden has welcomed the UK’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak – but that’s not the name the 46th US president used in his address.
During the White House Diwali event on Tuesday, Biden referred to the new UK leader as “Rashee Sanook” – just as the incoming PM was meeting King Charles III and being tasked with forming a new government.
“We’ve got news that Rashee Sanook [Rishi Sunak] is now the prime minister,” Biden said. “As my brother would say, go figure.”
The awkward mispronunciation immediately left netizens in stitches, although some were rather understanding.
“Give him a break, people in the UK are finding it hard to keep up with who the current PM is…” one Twitter user noted.
Others, however, suggested that it was not an accident this time.
“Racial undertones here. He could have taken a few minutes to learn how to pronounce RISHI SUNAK. Or was it deliberate? His mocking smile and laughter from his audience says it all!” another Twitter user said.
The US president is no stranger to gaffes and awkward situations. Hours earlier, before the bizarre “Rashee Sanook” mistake, Biden appeared to lose his way during a tree-planting event on the White House South Lawn on Monday. In another strange remark on MSNBC’s The Sunday Show, the president conceded that he could “drop dead tomorrow.”