The White House confirmed President Joe Biden mistakenly referred to Libya three times during a press conference on Sunday when he meant to refer to Syria.
Biden stumbled over his words during the press conference as he tried to detail his interest in discussing Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
From the White House transcript (Emphasis added):
1: There’s a lot going on where we can work together with Russia. For example, in Libya, we should be opening up the passes to be able to go through and provide — provide food assistance and economic — I mean, vital assistance to a population that’s in real trouble.
2: For example, the rebuilding of — of Syria, of Libya, of — you know, this is — they’re there. And as long as they’re there without the ability to bring about some order in the — in the region, and you can’t do that very well without providing for the basic economic needs of people.
3: So I’m hopeful that we can find an accommodation that — where we can save the lives of people in — for example, in — in Libya, that — consistent with the interest of — maybe for different reasons — but reached it for the same reason — the same result.
The Republican National Committee’s research team featured the clip on social media:
Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, told reporters after the press conference that the president meant to say Syria, not Libya, when it came to discussions with Putin.
The exchange between Sullivan and reporters was as follows:
Q Jake, can you clarify what the President said when he talked about there being a dilemma for Russia as it relates to Libya? Presumably he was referring to Syria. Is there more clarity?
MR. SULLIVAN: Syria.
Q He meant Syria, then?
MR. SULLIVAN: Yeah, he did.
Sullivan said Biden plans to discuss Libya with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday and Syria with Putin on Wednesday.