The early days of the presidential transition certainly don’t appear to be fueling the hopes of a less-divisive country. On Tuesday, President Trump delivered good news on the vaccine front but he couldn’t help doggedly repeating baseless voter fraud claims. Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden had difficulty simply announcing new members to his team. People that he picked.
Biden was called out immediately for mistakes and mispronunciations made as he revealed his choice for Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary. Not only did he bungle nominee Xavier Becerra’s name but called the position’s title the “Secretary of Health and Education Services.”
The Trump news conference, during which his “we won the election” comments were mixed in with news of the first vaccines coming within days, was seen on Fox News but was not aired in its entirety by CNN or MSNBC.
Biden, speaking from Wilmington, Del., named his picks for several top healthcare roles. If confirmed, the people in those roles will be prominent in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
California attorney general and former congressman Xavier Becerra is Biden’s pick for the HHS role, but the former vice president said, “For Secretary of Health and Education Services, I nominate Xavier Bacheria.”
He appeared to have some trouble during the announcement reading from his teleprompter. “You know, Xavier Becerra… excuse me,” Biden said, later correctly pronouncing Becerra’s name and properly referencing the HHS.
Republicans were quick to jump to mock the slip-up on social media. “Joe Biden defeated AGAIN by the teleprompter. For Secretary of Health and Education Services, I nominate Xavier Bacheria. Joe Biden is a mess. It’s Health and Human Services,” tweeted RNC member Steve Guest. “And it’s Xavier Becerra. Biden doesn’t know the cabinet office or name of the official.”