It was the second time this week that Biden had recalled speaking with a European leader who had died years earlier.
Biden’s gaffes Wednesday came at a series of fundraisers in New York as he described conversations he said he had with European leaders at a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in the U.K. in 2021, months after the Jan. 6 riot.
Biden said at both events that “Helmut Kohl,” who died in 2017, had asked him how he would respond if he read about people storming the British Parliament and killing officers “to stop the election of a prime minister.” Merkel attended the 2021 summit in the U.K.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The remarks weren’t Biden’s first mix-up of European leaders this week.
Speaking at an event in North Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday, Biden confused François Mitterrand, the former French president who died in 1996, for French President Emmanuel Macron in retelling an encounter with the French leader at a summit during his first year in office.
Biden’s likely 2024 opponent, former President Donald Trump, has also had recent slip-ups.
At a campaign rally last month, Trump railed at length against GOP rival Nikki Haley, but he appeared to have Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on his mind. Trump — who has accused Pelosi of turning down 10,000 soldiers on Jan. 6, when she was the House speaker, in a claim that has been debunked — said at the rally that Haley was in charge of security the day the Capitol was attacked.
Haley seized on Trump’s gaffe, questioning his mental fitness. In a campaign ad last week, she criticized both Trump, 77, and Biden, 81, about their ages, referring to them as “grumpy old men.”
An NBC News poll conducted last month found that 76% of voters, including half of Democrats, say they have concerns about Biden’s mental and physical health. The national poll also found that 48% of voters have concerns about Trump’s mental and physical health.