President Joe Biden elevated Chinese President Xi Jinping in his address to Congress Wednesday, suggesting he was on his way to leading his country to overtake the United States.
“He’s deadly earnest, of becoming the most significant consequential country in the world,” Biden said during his speech, veering from his prepared text.
It was an unusual decision by Biden to refer to the Chinese president by name twice during an important address to Congress – more than any other foreign leader in his speech.
The president added that he had traveled with President Xi for 17,000 miles, a repeated claim from him that has been fact-checked as false.
Biden also said he spent over 24 hours in private discussions with President Xi during his career, including a two-hour discussion with him after the Chinese communist party leader called to congratulate him for winning the election.