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Why did Biden say ‘God save the Queen, man’ during CT visit?

President Joe Biden leaves the stage after speaking at the Safer Communities Summit
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
President Joe Biden leaves the stage after speaking at the Safer Communities Summit

As he wrapped up his appearance at Friday's gun safety summit in Connecticut, President Biden said: “God save the Queen, man.” That generated a lot of social media attention – and confusion.

Video of his remarks were quickly shared via social media and “God save the Queen” was trending on Twitter. Queen Elizabeth II died last year and her son, Charles, became king.

Later on Friday, a White House spokesperson offered an explanation for Biden's remarks.

"He couldn’t do the full ropeline due to weather, and was commenting to someone in the crowd," principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters in an email.

The White House didn't respond to a follow-up request for comment from Axios.

After Biden finished his speech, he told the crowd at the University of Hartford: “Now as some of you know, I usually come down and say hi to all of you, but they tell me there’s a storm coming in.”

The crowd groaned and shouted “No!” as they seemed disappointed Biden might not be able to interact with them.

"That's the truth; now don't make a lie," Biden said. "As that scene in the John Wayne movie, don't make me a dog-faced lying pony soldier.”

Then he said he was going to ask a White House photographer to join him and stand in front of each section in the theater.

And then, still standing on stage as he looked into the crowd, he said: “God save the queen, man.”

The crowd cheered.

Biden addressed the National Safer Communities Summitat the University of Hartford — an event that marked one year since Biden's signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first major gun safety legislation in three decades.

Biden's way with words

Biden is known for his many memorable — and head-scratching — quotes through the years.

During his State of the Union address earlier this year, Biden said: "As my football coach used to say, 'Lots of luck in your senior year.'" NPR explored his use of that saying over the past couple of decades.

He's also on occasion said "dog-faced lying pony soldier" — or a variation of it, like this time in 2020 during a campaign appearance in New Hampshire.

Eric Aasen is executive editor at Connecticut Public, the statewide NPR and PBS service. He leads the newsroom, including editors, reporters, producers and newscasters, and oversees all local news, including radio, digital and television platforms. Eric joined Connecticut Public in 2022 from KERA, the NPR/PBS member station in Dallas-Fort Worth, where he served as managing editor and digital news editor. He's directed coverage of several breaking news events and edited and shaped a variety of award-winning broadcast and digital stories. In 2023, Connecticut Public earned a national Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage that explored 10 years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, as well as five regional Murrow Awards, including Overall Excellence. In 2015, Eric was part of a KERA team that won a national Online Journalism Award. In 2017, KERA earned a station-record eight regional Murrow Awards, including Overall Excellence. Eric joined KERA after more than a decade as a reporter at The Dallas Morning News. A Minnesota native, Eric has wanted to be a journalist since he was in the third grade. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from DePauw University in Indiana, where he earned a political science degree. He and his wife, a Connecticut native, have a daughter and a son, as well as a dog and three cats.

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