US President Joe Biden walks into flag, snubs Brazil president

US President Joe Biden looked confused again when he walked into a giant flag at the United Nations – then appeared to anger Brazil’s president by walking off stage without shaking his hand.

The gaffe-prone oldest US president in history walked into the 2m tall Brazilian flag as he took the stage on Wednesday local time, taking a moment to get his bearings as the flag wobbled.

He then struggled with the headset of his translation device, soon noted by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was with him for a joint speech agreeing to partner on workers’ rights, the New York Post reported.

“Can you hear me, President Biden? This is a historic moment for Brazil and for the US,” the Brazilian leader asked.

When he did not immediately respond, Lula again asked: “President Biden, can you hear me?”

He turned toward the 80-year-old president, who nodded in response – but continued to fumble with the headset throughout Lula’s speech.

At one point, Mr Biden dropped it and raised his eyebrows in frustration.

At the end, Mr Biden shook hands with International Labor Organization Director-General Gilbert Huongbo – but turned and wandered off as Lula offered his hand.

He instead simply waved to the audience and awkwardly saluted, before he shuffled off the stage.

As he left, Lula looked visibly irritated and made a swiping gesture with his arm.

It is just the latest gaffe from Mr Biden, who has faced escalating concerns over his age as he runs to remain president in 2024.

The Post has reached out to the White House and Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Despite Mr Biden’s apparent snub, the two presidents did agree to forge a stronger relationship, as they spoke of their commitment to creating well-paying jobs and ensuring that workers benefit from the digital and green energy transition.

Biden said the partnership between the US and Brazil over workers’ rights only involved the two nations for now, but other nations and organisations are also welcome to join.

Lula also said that in the wake of threats to democracies across the world, it was important to uphold the rights of workers and help working families.

“It’s more than just another bilateral [partnership],” the Brazilian president said.

“It’s a faith relationship that we are building here and a new era for US-Brazilian relations amongst equal partners,” he said, adding that “poverty and inequality is not in the interest of anybody”.

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and was republished with permission

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