Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign has confirmed the accuracy of a recently resurfaced video showing him jokingly calling military troops “stupid bastards” and “a dull bunch” during a trip overseas, but said that they were made in jest as a way to garner greater applause for a female service member’s commitment to the country.
“Vice President Biden was jokingly encouraging the audience to clap for an airwoman on the stage, and a number of service members can be seen laughing and smiling at the comment. Seconds before, he praised them for 'the incredible sacrifices [they] make for our country,’” Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates told The Daily Beast exclusively in a statement.
“He thanked them for their patriotism and courage throughout, and closed his remarks by saying, 'you’re the finest generation of warriors the world has ever, ever known'—receiving an enthusiastic ovation,” Bates said.
Biden made the utterance during a speech in Abu Dhabi on March 7, 2016 while he was serving under former President Barack Obama. He said: “I’ve been in and out of the Balkans 25 times; in and out of Iraq 26 times; in and out of Afghanistan about 10 or 12 times. And I have one regret every time I’m with you all—and I mean this sincerely—is the folks back home can't see you; can't see you in place. Don't get to fly on the mission with you. Don't understand—they appreciate, but they don't fully understand the incredible sacrifices you make for our country,” according to the official transcript, which was archived in the White House’s Office of the Vice President.
Biden then attempted to crack a few jokes. “And I want you to know notwithstanding what you may hear about me, I have incredibly good judgment. One, I married Jill. And two, I appointed Johnson to the academy. I just want you to know that. Clap for that, you stupid bastards. (Applause.) Come on, man. Man, you are a dull bunch. Must be slow here, man. I don't know,” he said.
While video of Biden’s speech highlighting the “stupid bastards” portion of his comments has been available on YouTube since 2017, it began to gain traction on the pro-Trump internet late Friday afternoon, appearing on pro-Trump forums like “The Donald.” The clip was also circulated on Twitter by pro-Trump personalities like Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier and One America News staffer Jack Posobiec.
The newly pushed tape comes as Biden has been strongly defending the country’s soldiers over the past several weeks, following President Donald Trump’s comments captured by “multiple sources” who spoke to The Atlantic, where he reportedly called those killed in combat “losers” and “suckers.”