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Watch: Biden Withdraws Hand From Heart After Realizing That National Anthem Isn’t Playing

President Joe Biden made another of his characteristic gaffes on Thursday when he made the gesture of respect for the American national anthem, before embarrassedly withdrawing his hand from his heart in apparent recognition that the music playing was not, in fact, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

During a meeting with Indian president Narendra Modi at the White House, President Biden placed his hand over his heart while the leaders stood in reverence for “Hail to the Chief” and the Indian national anthem, “Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People,” before apparently realizing the blunder and shyly dismissing his right hand from chest duty.

The constitution of India does not recommend citizens of the country to put their hands on their hearts in the manner customary to Americans, but it does instruct citizens to stand reverently with their arms at their sides.

Neither is it traditional for Americans to place hand on chest for “Hail to the Chief,” the anthem of the U.S. presidency. Rather, this tune is meant to be recognized either by holding one’s hands to one’s sides or by a salute in military contexts.

This incident is far from  the first time Biden’s apparent confusion has raised eyebrows. Back in April 2022, he was caught on camera extending his hand as if to shake another’s after delivering a speech in North Carolina — apparently unaware that there was no one there to return the gesture. His hand lingered in the air for a few awkward seconds before he realized his error and withdrew the appendage​.

Even more recently, Biden’s balance — or lack thereof — was brought into focus when he tripped over a sandbag during the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation, causing him to tumble on stage. This incident was not an isolated event; Biden has had his share of spills in the past. He famously took a spill off his bike during a Delaware vacation and nearly lost his footing on the stairs of the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima during a trip to Japan in May​.

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford was ruthlessly mocked for stumbling down the stairs from Air Force One during a visit to Austria in 1975. The incident provided fodder to “Saturday Night Live” comedian Chevy Chase, who impersonated then-President Ford as a clumsy buffoon long after the unfortunate incident. Yet Biden’s record of falls puts Ford to shame, and the president’s physical faculties do not appear to be improving as the years of his presidency take their toll on the ancient commander in chief.

Concerns about the president’s mental state have been underscored by another unsettling incident. He was noted to be searching the room for Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana, who had tragically lost her life in a car accident a month prior to the incident. This unfortunate mistake further fueled questions about Biden’s cognitive health​.

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