NBA Champions' White House Visit Takes Strange Turn as Biden Flubs Kamala Harris' Name, Then Strikes Odd Pose for Photo: 'I'm Not Doing That'
Like the clanging of an off-target jump shot hitting the rim, President Joe Biden brought a note of dissonance into the visit of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to the White House on Tuesday.
First, while insisting to the team that his administration was watching the storms slamming California, he pronounced the name of Vice President Kamala Harris as “CAM-a-la” instead of her preferred pronunciation of “COMMA-la.”
During her 2016 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Harris had tried to shoot down abhorrent pronunciations in a video posted to social media.
“It’s not CAM-el-UH. It’s not Kuh-MAHL-uh. It’s not Karmel-UH,” the video said.
People pronounce my name many different ways. Let #KidsForKamala show you how it’s done. pic.twitter.com/7QoQGN0B4k
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 24, 2016
One Twitter user described the flub as “embarrassing.”
EMBARRASSING: Joe Biden mispronounces Kamala Harris’ name again pic.twitter.com/L0qMX7Wt0J
— Defeat the Elite🤺 (@defeatelitescum) January 18, 2023
Biden also decided to kneel for the team picture with the Warriors, a quirk noted by Breitbart when Biden honored a Korean War vet, and during White House ceremonies with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Storm.
“I’m not doing that,” Harris said after the president took a knee in dramatic fashion.
The gesture — apparently designed to call to mind the national anthem protests started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — raised some eyebrows on Twitter.
Kamala Harris refuses to drop to her knees in front of an entire NBA team.
Kamala shouts “I’m not doing that!”
Joe Biden in turn gets on his knees before the Golden State Warriors.
The White House crowd awkwardly gasps. Cringe. WATCH 🥴
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) January 17, 2023
Why are you taking a knee?
— Dean Cain (@RealDeanCain) January 18, 2023
The president seen here, in the white house, taking the knee.
— Bodacious Ape (@BodaciousApe) January 18, 2023
But the visit by the Warriors was more than just a ritual. It came with baggage from the era of President Donald Trump, when the team was disinvited in 2017 after guard Steph Curry indicated that because Trump did not suit his politics, he might not want to go.
That led Biden to stress how times had changed.
“Let me just say that the Golden State Warriors are always welcome in this White House,” the president said during the event. “Always welcome.”
Curry called the kneeling gesture “very symbolic,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I think it was an iconic moment in the sense of what that image means. But the fact that he would do it there, I don’t know how he’d put words to it, but he’s just a humble server, man. That’s how you want anybody to approach the position that he’s in. … That picture is going to be one to keep,” he said.
Draymond Green of the Warriors referenced the team’s dispute with Trump, the Chronicle noted.
“To win two championships and not have the opportunity to celebrate what’s been a tradition since Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics, it sucked,” he said.
“And obviously you want that opportunity, but we also — for obvious reasons — didn’t go. So I was very thankful and appreciative and also thought it was pretty funny, President Biden’s comments today,” he said.
During remarks at the White House, Curry, who gave a video speech supporting Biden at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, praised the president.
Stephen Curry gifts President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris with honorary @warriors jerseys.
Watch on the NBA App: https://t.co/y3YdBxQd9N pic.twitter.com/Esf7w0OxYm
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2023
“For us to be here — to find the common synergies within, you know, what we do on the court and what we represent. And when it comes to providing hope, inspiration, belief to everybody that watches us play, that’s what you do in your roles leading our country,” he said.
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