Watch: Biden reads ‘pause’ aloud from teleprompter in latest speech blunder

Joe Biden has suffered an “Anchorman moment” after he read out a prompt to “pause” on his teleprompter to a baffled audience.

The US president, 81, spoke at a trade union event in Washington, DC on Wednesday, where he read pre-prepared marks to a crowd of several hundred people.

“I see an America where we defend democracy, not diminish it,” he said. “I see an America where we protect freedoms, not take them away.

“I see an economy that grows a lot in the bottom up where the wealthy pay their fair share, so we can have child care, paid leave and so much more, and still reduce the federal deficit and increase economic folks.

After listing his achievements in office, Mr Biden told the audience: “Imagine what we could do next. Four more years.”

He then added: “Pause.”

The direction is thought to have been added by his aides, who had hoped Mr Biden would stop speaking to allow the crowd to chant “four more years” back at him.

I’m Joe Biden...? President’s ‘Anchorman moment’

The gaffe was compared to a scene from the 2004 comedy film Anchorman, in which a newsreader played by the American actor Will Ferrell accidentally reads out directions to viewers.

Anchorman Ron Burgundy Joe Biden
Anchorman Ron Burgundy Joe Biden

Elsewhere in the speech, Mr Biden wrongly claimed he had “cut the national debt”, which has increased from $21.8 trillion in February 2021, when he took office, to $34.7 trillion.

Mr Biden has become known for his frequent gaffes in his public remarks, which have included reference to the “nine wonders of the world”, describing a recent encounter with long-dead former French leader Francois Mitterand, and confusing the presidents of Mexico and Egypt.

In a speech in Florida on Tuesday, Mr Biden mistakenly said that “we can’t be trusted” instead of “he can’t be trusted” in remarks directed at Donald Trump.

Earlier this year, a prosecutor appointed to investigate claims he had illegally stored classified documents in his garage concluded he should not be tried because a jury would find him to be a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory”.

Mr Biden’s aides have defended his mental acuity, describing him as sharp in private meetings and pointing to historic examples of his verbal slip-ups as evidence the recent gaffes have not been caused by his age.