Joe Biden raised eyebrows Thursday night after telling a crowd made up mostly of Asian and Hispanic voters that “poor kids are just as bright” as “white kids.” The former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate was speaking at a town hall for the Asian & Latino Coalition PAC in Des Moines, Iowa, when he made the gaffe.
“We should challenge students in these schools and have advanced placement programs in these schools,” the 2020 frontrunner said. “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
He quickly corrected himself, adding “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids” to the list. “No I really mean it, but think how we think about it,” he said.
Biden’s Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement that Biden misspoke and immediately corrected himself.
“Vice President Biden misspoke and immediately corrected himself during a refrain he often uses to make the point that all children deserve a fair shot, and children born into lower-income circumstances are just as smart as those born to wealthy parents,” she said. “Joe Biden has spent his life fighting for civil rights and the dignity of all people.”
President Trump’s re-election campaign was quick to seize on the slip-up and share a video of the remarks. “Yikes… have fun mitigating that one,” Andrew Clark, rapid response director for the Trump campaign, wrote on Twitter.
Bedingfield called the Trump campaign’s post “patently disingenuous.”
“The Trump campaign posting the video without the Vice President’s immediate correction is patently disingenuous—and it’s no coincidence this comes days after Joe Biden laid out how this president emboldens white nationalism and embraces racism, and hours after one of Trump’s Breitbart lackeys confronted him in an attempt to gaslight about his response to Charlottesville,” Bedingfield said in the statement.
Biden, who has dubbed himself a “gaffe machine” for his well-documented history with verbal blunders and embarrassing slip-ups, has yet to comment on his remarks, which came just hours after he said President Trump “encourages white supremacists.”