President Joe Biden joked that Indian-American people were taking over the United States during a call with a NASA team on Thursday.
Biden spoke about Indian-Americans as he talked with Dr. Swati Mohan, an Indian-American scientist who played a role in helping land a rover on Mars last week
“It’s amazing. Indian of decent Americans are taking over the country,” Biden said. “You, my vice president, my speechwriter Vinay.”
Biden has a history of awkward statements on the growing population of Indian-Americans.
In 2006, Biden spoke about the rise of Indian immigrants in his state of Delaware.
“In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India,” he said. “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
During his call with the NASA team at the White House, Biden appeared to lose track of his instructions during the video call.
“Am I supposed to speak now?” he asked, looking confused to a member of his staff during the call.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory director Michael Watkins continued speaking as Biden looked around.
“Now am I supposed to speak? Or is Swati supposed to say something? I was told I was supposed to speak with Swati,” he said.
Watkins ultimately spoke to Biden, prompting the president to grin.
“You restored a dose of confidence in the American people. They’re beginning to wonder about us,” Biden said.
He praised the team for completing their mission, giving hope to the American people during the coronavirus pandemic.
“You did it the most American way, you believed in science, you believed in hard work and you believed there wasn’t a darned thing you couldn’t do if you put your minds together,” he said.
Biden recalled hearing a “head of state” who said that America was no longer able to do great things because of their failure to control the coronavirus.
“We can land a rover on Mars, we can beat a pandemic, and with science, hope, and vision there’s not a damn thing we can’t do as a country,” he said.
As he ended the call, Biden accepted an invitation to visit the NASA headquarters in person.
“I’m like a poor relative, Mike. When I’m invited, I show up, so be careful. You know the poor relatives show up and they stay longer than they’re supposed to,” he joked. “I’m one of those kind of guys.”