As President Joe Biden’s age and mental fitness for office continue to be a major source of concern for the American people, the president made the concerns worse with his latest gaffe.

On Wednesday, Joe Biden mistakenly labeled one of America’s allies as a “xenophobic” nation. Biden, while delivering live remarks at a campaign fundraiser, insisted that Japan —America’s strategic ally in the resistance to China’s growing aggression in the Asia-Pacific— is a xenophobic nation.

“Think about it. Why is China stalling so bad economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia?” the president questioned. “Because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants.”

The president’s remark drew fierce criticism with Jeffrey Hall, a Japanese studies lecturer at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan, telling NBC News that Biden’s statement is not “something diplomatic to say.”

“It’s not something diplomatic to say about one of America’s closest allies,” Hall said. “So it just strikes me as something that was unnecessary to say in this context. It will sound like America is once again talking down to the Japanese, and that’s not really an effective way of getting Japan to fix various problems with its society that even Japanese people would agree are problems.”

Biden’s remark also left White House officials struggling to clean up. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre failed miserably to clean up after the president when one reporter asked if the commander-in-chief meant what he said about Japan.

“Look, he, I think he was — look, the president was very clear. I think that —” Jean-Pierre began.

“He wasn’t very clear. That is why we are asking you,” the reporter shot back.

“Look. Here is what I am saying. He was talking about who we are as a country. Right? He was talking about the importance about being a country of immigrants, especially as you see the attacks that we have seen very recently in the last couple of years, on those attacks on immigrants in particular. And so it is important for us to remember that we are a country of immigrants,” Jean-Pierre continued without actually stating whether the president meant what he said about Japan. “I’m explaining what he was talking about and how he was — what he was focusing on in those comments — country of immigrants, it makes us stronger and it is important to be very clear about that. And the president’s always going to be really clear on speaking on issues that matter to the American people. We are a country of immigrants. That matters. And we’ve seen these attacks and so the president is never going to shy away from that.”