Former Vice President Joe Biden provoked alarm and outrage after telling a largely minority audience in Iowa that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” the most galling in a series of gaffes the presumptive 2020 Democratic frontrunner committed on the campaign trail on Thursday alone.
Appearing to recognize that he, mistakenly or not, equated poor children with minority children, Biden added after a pause, “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids, no I really mean it, but think how we think about it.”
“Yikes,” said one online commenter, summing up a common reaction to Biden’s remarks. Notably, it was also the reaction of Andrew Clark, President Donald Trump’s rapid response director for his 2020 reelection campaign who pounced on the comment.
Biden in Iowa: “Poor kids are just as smart as white kids.”
— Tania Singh (@TwinklingTania) August 9, 2019
Trump’s “war room” seizing upon Biden’s remarks heightened concerns that the former Vice President’s propensity to misspeak could hand ammunition to Trump and the right-wing media.
“If Democrats nominate Biden, he could end up out-gaffeing Trump in the general election campaign,” tweeted Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan.
Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall called Biden’s comments “embarrassing” and said the former Vice President is a “walking gaffe machine.”
Biden misspoke on several other occasions during campaign events in Iowa on Thursday.
During a speech at the Iowa State Fair, the former Vice President said “we choose truth over facts,” sparking confusion on social media.
Oops: Biden says “we choose truth over facts” pic.twitter.com/bkohPsOmJC
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) August 8, 2019
Biden also mistakenly referred to former British Prime Minister Theresa May as Margaret Thatcher. CNN reporter Daniel Dale noted on Twitter that Thursday night was the second time Biden has committed that misstep since May.
In response to Biden’s series of gaffes, commentators raised serious concerns about Biden’s mental acuity and fitness to be the Democratic nominee.
“Someone who is losing their ability to think and speak is not the best person for the job,” tweeted Parker Molloy, editor-at-large for Media Matters for America.