Former US vice president Joe Biden, who has a history of gaffes, on Thursday night told a group of minority black voters in Lowa that they are just as bright as white kids.
Biden, who has been leading in national and early state polling for the Democratic presidential nomination, was speaking on the subject of education at a town hall in Des Moines hosted by the Asian and Latino Coalition.
“We should challenge students in these schools that have advanced placement programs in these schools. 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.”
After a brief pause, he added: “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids, no I really mean it, but think how we think about it.”
His remarks prompted a stir on social media on Thursday night, with many focusing on the equivalence he drew, intentionally or not, between poor children and minority children.
President Trump’s campaign highlighted a video clip from the event on its “War Room” account on Twitter. In a separate tweet, the campaign’s rapid response director, Andrew Clark, wrote: Yikes…have fun mitigating that one.”
Thursday was not the first time Biden’s comments on race have prompted scrutiny. In February 2007, on the day he launched his bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Biden found himself defending comments made a week earlier in an interview with the New York Observer about then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
In the interview, he called Obama “the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
Biden issued a statement that day, saying: “I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Sen. Obama.”
A Monmouth University poll released Thursday showed Biden leading the Democratic field in Iowa, with 28 percent of likely 2020 Democratic caucus voters. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) placed second, with 19 percent support, up from 7 percent in April.
In both clear language and in code, President Trump has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation. Joe Biden said;
In both clear language and in code, President Trump has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation. pic.twitter.com/UoiiMVrCW7
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 8, 2019