Who are the 'black and tans'? Fury erupts after Joe Biden's latest 'anti-British' gaffe
COUNTY LOUTH, IRELAND: The White House was obligated to correct Joe Biden after he seemed to confuse New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team with the British paramilitary force 'the Black and Tans' that terrorized Ireland. The US president made the slip while speaking about his heritage and notions of Irishness to a packed Windsor Bar and Restaurant in Dundalk, County Louth, on Wednesday, April 12, the first day of his three-day visit to Ireland.
The 80-year-old Biden said he was wearing a shamrock tie given to him by Rob Kearney, a distant cousin who played in an Irish rugby team that beat New Zealand. “This was given to me by one of these guys, right here. He was a hell of a rugby player. He beat the hell out of the Black and Tans,” he said, according to The Guardian. The comment drew laughter in the pub and left many wondering whether it was intentional or merely a slip. Later, the White House website attempted to defuse the situation by clarifying in its official records that Biden was referring to the All Blacks - the New Zealand Rugby team, according to Daily Mail.
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Who were the 'black and tans'?
The Blacks and Tans was a notorious group of 10,000 men recruited from Britain to try and defeat the IRA during the Irish War of Independence, which lasted from 1919 to '21. The name of the auxiliary police force derived from their uniforms, which were a combination of the RIC's dark green, which seemed black, and the British army's tan color. Due to their incredible combat skills, rumors spread that they had been recruited from British jails, according to DailyMail.
They were notorious for their cruelty and retaliation against citizens suspected of supporting the IRA. Their actions were highly condemned by the public in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The regiment was abolished in 1922, but the Black and Tans are still a byword for extreme violence, and their significance in the war is debatable. The troops were immortalized in the iconic Irish rebel song 'Come Out, Ye Black And Tans'.
'Your gaffes are a serious threat to US security'
The White House tried to smooth over the situation but netizens didn't let this pass. "Biden getting the All-Blacks mixed up with the Black and Tans has finished me off. At least he said they'd beat the hell out of em,” one user said. “Oh boy! God bless him! The ‘All Blacks’ vs ‘The Black and Tans’ what conversations had he previously had that brought the Black and Tans to his mind??” the second user wrote while another asserted, “You referred to the Irish as the "Black and Tans," the British soldiers who terrorized the Irish in the early 1900s. Your gaffes are a serious threat to US security.”
Oh boy! God bless him! The ‘All Blacks’ vs ‘The Black and Tans’ what conversations had he previously had that brought the Black and Tans to his mind?? 😳😳😳— WannabeLadyinaVan (@MHBrooks8) April 13, 2023
You referred to the Irish as the "Black and Tans," the British soldiers who terrorized the Irish in the early 1900's. Your gaffes are a serious threat to US security— BNS (@brandiesmith) April 13, 2023
Biden getting the All-Blacks mixed up with the Black and Tans has finished me off.— International Lew ⭐ (@Thaa_knows) April 13, 2023
At least he said they'd beat the hell out of em.
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