The renowned land formation is full of “ironic” species, the president declared
US President Joe Biden called the Grand Canyon “one of Earth’s nine wonders” in a gaffe-laden speech on Tuesday, as he promoted a recent executive order which sets aside over a million acres of nearby land as a national monument.
“Folks, it’s not hyperbole to suggest that there is no national treasure, none, that is grander than the Grand Canyon,” Biden told an audience in Arizona before going slightly off-script, adding: “The Grand Canyon – one of the Earth’s nine wonders, wonders the world – literally, think of that.”
He later corrected himself, admitting, “as a matter of fact, I said nine. It’s one of the seven wonders of the world.”
Biden appeared to have trouble reading his teleprompter, as he later described how the Grand Canyon area was “a haven of ironic species like bats, bison, bighorn sheep, and nearly 450 kinds of birds, including the bald and golden eagles.”
The president signed an executive order on Tuesday designating 917,000 acres of public land around Grand Canyon National Park as a new national monument named Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni (Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument).
While indigenous groups praised the move for safeguarding sacred lands, critics – including Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) – pointed out that it roped off “one of the most productive uranium mining districts in the country” and would place “burdensome restrictions” on cattle ranchers who used the land for grazing.
The Biden administration claimed existing mining, grazing, and hunting rights would be respected, however.
The president also announced a $44 million investment to “strengthen climate resilience across our national park system” using funds from the Inflation Reduction Act, pointing to the recent heatwave and declaring the government was “delivering” on its green promises.
Biden has become infamous for his frequent mangling of the English language. Aged 80, he is the oldest US president ever, and his advanced years have convinced even many Democrats that it would be unwise for him to seek a second term.
A June poll conducted by Washington Post-ABC found just 32% of voters believed he had the mental sharpness required to be president, compared to 54% for his 2020 rival, former President Donald Trump.
Biden last month called for Russia to “cease its inhumane attacks on Russia,” having previously declared Moscow was “losing the war in Iraq.” US media has struggled to cover for his apparent gaps in comprehension of world events.
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