While this week’s news cycle has been mostly focused on gaffes made by President Donald J Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden is not to be outdone. Remarks made at a campaign stop in Miami have supporters cringing and critics scratching their heads.
Biden’s History of Verbal Gaffes
While it’s well-known that Biden has struggled with a stutter from childhood, his verbal gaffes have gone beyond that realm. In December of 2018 when discussing a possible 2020 run, Biden even admitted to his frequent verbal slip-ups; “I am a gaffe machine, but my God what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can’t tell the truth.”
In the past, Biden’s gaffes include, as reported by NewsWeek:
- In 2010, speaking to the former Irish Prime Minister, “”His mom lived in Long Island for 10 years or so, god rest her soul, and, er, although she’s, wait—your mom’s still alive. It was your dad [who] passed. God bless her soul. I gotta get this straight.”
During a 2008 campaign rally in Missouri, Biden asked the audience to applaud State Senator Chuck Graham.
“Stand up, Chuck, let ’em see you,” Biden said, gesturing for Graham to stand.
Graham, a paraplegic following a car accident, is confined to a wheelchair.
“Oh, god love ya, what am I talking about,” Biden said, realizing his mistake. “I tell you what, you’re making everybody else stand up though, pal. Thank you very, very much…You can tell I’m new.”
- During a 2008 campaign rally, Biden said: “Look, John’s last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: Jobs. J-O-B-S.”
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, Biden took a leading role in questioning Anita Hill, who had accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harrassment. Biden asked her to describe her most embarrassing encounter with Thomas—”Can you tell us how you felt at the time? Were you uncomfortable, were you embarrassed, did it not concern you? How did you feel about it?”—and pushed an obviously reluctant Hill to say the name of a pornographic film star whom Thomas had alluded to.
Biden: “Do you recall what it was?”
Hill: “Yes, I do. The name that was referred to was Long Dong Silver.”
During a conference call with reporters in 2007, Biden assessed the strengths of fellow presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
“I mean you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African American, who is articulate and bright, and clean and [a] nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man,” Biden said.
- In 2009, Politico reported that Biden was overheard making this comment to the then Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko: “I cannot believe that a French man visiting Kiev went back home and told his colleagues he discovered something and didn’t say he discovered the most beautiful women in the world. That’s my observation.”
In a 2012 speech on foreign policy, Biden praised President Obama’s approach to diplomacy.
“Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ End of quote,” Biden said. “I promise you, the president has a big stick.”
As the audience laughed, Biden repeated: “I promise you.”
What Did Biden Say in Miami?
On Monday, Biden visited the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami, Florida. While he was there, he joked, “the good news is, for me, I’m here. The bad news for you is I’m coming back.”
After seeing a group of young girls sitting off to the side, the former vice president pointed to them and said, “And I want to see these beautiful young ladies- I want to see them dancing when they’re four years older too.”
After being blasted for the creepy comments, Biden’s campaign responded only with, a link to Article II of the Constitution and highlighted, “He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years.”
The Biden Campaign Response Doesn’t Answer Many Questions
With one of the main accusations from critics against Biden being that he’s creepy and often predatory, it was a poorly calculated risk that put the presidential candidate on stage to make those remarks. Biden has been leading in every single poll in recent weeks, and came out of the first presidential debate strong. With Trump sick with COVID and acting erratically, all Biden had to do was not mess up to maintain his lead. Perhaps his campaign will learn from this mistake and keep the former VP in more controlled environments as the days count down to Election Day.
The campaign’s response seems to suggest that Biden wouldn’t have free time for four years if elected president, but critics are quick to point out that he didn’t say, “in four years.” He said, “four years older.” All the Biden camp can do now is hope that this doesn’t drag him down in polls that have been trending favorably for them more and more as the week progresses. Trump, meanwhile, seems happy to continue tweeting from quarantine.