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'They've both got pyramids': Biden gaffe sparks memes

Pyramids of Giza
Some social media users poked fun by claiming Mr Biden confused Egypt's Pyramids with Mexico's.

Egypt and Mexico are separated by thousands of miles of ocean and desert, with vastly different languages, cuisines, politics and cultures.

But as citizens in both countries rose to read the news on Friday morning, some unified behind a common sense of puzzlement - and in some cases levity - at US President Joe Biden.

At a contentious Thursday night news conference aimed at defending his cognitive abilities from detractors, Mr Biden inadvertently referred to Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as the "president of Mexico".

The comment, which came hours after the findings of a report into Mr Biden's handling of declassified documents were released, quickly set social media in both countries ablaze.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, some Mexicans took a light-hearted approach to the gaffe, sharing images of the Mexican flag with its characteristic, snake-eating eagle replaced by the Egyptian eagle of Saladin from the country's coat of arms.

Similarly, some Egyptians shared images of a Mexican eagle on an Egyptian flag, with one including the caption "Long Live the Arab Republic of Mexico".

"Let's be honest. The Mexico and Egypt flag mash-up just looks really cool," one Mexico City-based user wrote.

Other X users went even further, sharing AI-generated images of Mayan temples improbably placed in the sand dunes near the Pyramids, of sombrero-wearing taco vendors in Giza or President Al-Sisi wearing traditional Mexican garb and strumming on a guitar.

"They've both got pyramids," one X user wrote. "Anyone can get confused. I'm 65 and almost daily I get my car confused with others of the same colour."

In Egypt, locals have long referred to Mr Al Sisi as "El Miksiki" - the Mexican - to avoid government censors.

The long-running moniker originated from a years-old meme that was popular in Egypt, prompting one user to write that its citizens "memed this to reality". Another explained that Egyptians who are against the regime sometimes refer to it as being under "Mexican occupation".

"You can't criticise the president freely so Egyptians started calling him 'El Miksiki' ('the Mexican' in Arabic) because it sounds like 'al-Sisi' so they can avoid censorship and criticise him freely," one user explained on X.

However, not all Egyptians saw the funny side of the Biden gaffe. Many users expressed disbelief at the blunder and anger at the president, with some using the moment to criticise him for US support of Israel during the war in Gaza.

Thursday's gaffe was just the latest of several mistakes Mr Biden has made when speaking about world leaders, and raised further doubts about the 81-year-old's memory and mental fitness.

Earlier in the week he spoke about discussing the 2021 Capitol riot with former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. However, Kohl resigned as chancellor in 1998 and died in 2017.

And during a recent campaign speech in Nevada, he confused former French President Francois Mitterrand - who died in 1996 - for France's current president, Emmanuel Macron.

His likely Republican opponent Donald Trump, 77, has also mixed up names - most recently confusing his rival Nikki Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.