Joe Biden in front of microphones

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‘Sick reference’: Biden’s Israel speech accused of cribbing ‘get knocked down’ line from Chumbawumba’s ‘Tubthumping’

Tubthumping in Tel Aviv?


Katherine Huggins


President Joe Biden appeared to reference the popular Chumbawumba song “Tubthumping” during his speech Wednesday in Israel.

“When we get knocked down, we get up again,” Biden said.

Biden’s remarks come amid his visit to Israel to speak with Israelis affected by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the war in the region rages on.

According to a White House readout of the two leaders’ meeting, Biden told Netanyahu that “Americans are grieving with you” in the wake of the attack, reiterated that the U.S. stands with Israel, and called for humanitarian aid access for Palestinians in Gaza.

“Israel has a value set like the United States does and other democracies, and—and [the world is] looking to see what we’re going to do,” Biden said.

After Biden’s comment, “Chumbawumba” quickly began to trend on X.

“To the person who has ‘Chumbawamba trending in politics’ on their 2023 bingo card, allow me to say congratulations,” joked one user.

“The Biden speechwriter who just worked in Chumbawamba lyrics to his address to Israel is about to be out of a job,” posted another user.

Responding to the live stream of the speech, a separate person replied: “Sick Chumbawamba reference.”

Wrote someone else: “Biden saying this in Israel made me cringe.”

It’s unclear if it was an intentional reference, as Biden did not directly quote the song (which uses the first person “I get knocked down” instead of “we”).

He more likely was referencing a lesson he learned from his father, as he has described in similar past remarks.

“My dad always said, ‘Champ, when you get knocked down, you get back up.’ I’ve been knocked down a lot in my life, like so many Americans have, but always get back up,” Biden said in 2020. “That’s the resiliency of the American people. Given half a fighting chance, there’s nothing we can’t do.”

And in a speech in June 2022 supporting the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride, Biden told participating veterans: “Talk about getting up; my dad used to have an expression. Said, ‘If you get knocked down, just get up.’ Just get up. Well, it’s a lot easier to say than do, especially in the circumstances many of you’ve been through.”

Biden has not been accused of citing Chumbawamba since.

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