Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is attempting to walk back his “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” gaffe by lashing out at President Donald Trump and Breitbart News.
Kate Bedingfield, the former vice president’s deputy campaign manager, tried to write off the gaffe by not only asserting Biden “misspoke” but that Trump and his allies were using the incident to deflect criticism from themselves.
“Donald Trump is desperate to change the subject from his atrocious record of using racism to divide this country,” Bedingfield said in a statement on Friday. “Vice President Joe 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.”
The statement was in response to comments Biden made on Thursday when addressing the Asian and Latino Coalition of Des Moines, Iowa, that were interpreted by many to be racially insensitive.
“We should challenge these students, we should challenge students in these schools to have advanced placement programs in these schools,” the former vice president said when discussing the need to improve America’s education system. “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.”
Biden quickly attempted to clarify his remarks by adding “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids” to the end of his previous sentence.
Despite multiple other outlets reporting on the incident, Bedingfield specifically cited Breitbart News in her statement.
“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 Bretibart lackeys confronted him in an attempt to gaslight about his response to Charlottesville.”
The incident in question occurred earlier Thursday when Joel Pollak, a senior editor at Breitart News, confronted Biden about the repeated instances in which he has misquoted Trump’s comments in the wake of Charlottesville. The exchange quickly caught the attention of national media due to Biden’s heated response.
Mr. Vice President, are you aware that you’re misquoting Donald Trump in Charlottesville, he never called neo-Nazis “very fine people”?
Joe Biden: No, he called all those folks who walked out of that — they were neo-Nazis. Shouting hate, their veins bulging.
Breitbart News: But he said specifically that he was condemning them.
Joe Biden: Not specifically.
Breitbart News: He said —
Joe Biden: No, he did not. He said, he walked out, and he said — let’s get this straight. He said there were “very fine people” in both groups. They’re chanting antisemitic slogans, carrying flags.
Since announcing his candidacy, Biden has repeatedly invoked the “Charlottesville hoax,” which inaccurately purports that Trump praised the neo-Nazis who marched on Charlottesville as “very fine people.”
In reality, the “‘very fine people” comment referred to non-violent demonstrators on both the left and right. During the same press conference, the president also condemned the murder of Heather Heyer, describing it as an act of ‘terrorism’ and ‘murder.’
“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally,” Trump said at the time.