Former Vice President Joe Biden inaccurately stated on Thursday that the Obama-Biden administration was in office in 1976.
Biden, who has shown an inability to recollect dates and places to the chagrin of even his staunches allies, made the claim while discussing immigration during a stop on his “No Malarkey” bus tour of Iowa.
In particular, the 77-year-old Biden tried to create a contrast between President Donald Trump’s record on immigration and that of the Obama-Biden administration. To do so, the former vice president invoked the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which granted legal protections to nearly 800,000 illegal migrants brought to the U.S. as children, and other signature Obama-era policies.
“There’s the Dreamers program, there’s also a program that said we’re not going to separate families, we’re going to allow families to stay together while they go through the process, and the court said you can’t,” Biden said, before adding, “We did that in 1976.”
“And, I mean, I’m sorry, excuse me,” the former vice president said immediately afterwards, seeming to catch himself. “Backing up here, 2014.”
It is unclear how Biden seemed to make the mistake, particularly since he and President Barack Obama took office in 2009 and served until 2017. In comparison, the former vice president was serving his first term in the U.S. Senate in 1976, while his future running mate was a 15-year-old high school student in Hawaii.
Biden’s gaffe was also not the first of the day. At the same event, Biden told a group of Iowa school children they were living in the “state of Ohio.”
Such lapses have become frequent for the vice president on the campaign trail. Earlier this summer, Biden shocked the media establishment when he claimed to be vice president at the time of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president,” Biden said during a huddle with reporters in Iowa, before claiming that when the survivors visited Congress, lawmakers were “basically cowering, not wanting to see them. They did not want to face it on camera.”
The statement was quickly disproved, as the shooting, which resulted in 17 fatalities and over a dozen injuries, actually occurred on February 14, 2018 — more than a year after Biden left office. In response, Biden’s team claimed the candidate had simply misspoken and pivoted to attacking the media for pushing it’s own “narrative” around the gaffes.
“This is a press narrative, not a voter narrative,” Biden’s spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, asserted during an appearance on MSNBC. Sanders even went to the extent of lecturing the media on what it should and should not prioritize to “elevate the conversation” surrounding the election.
“We cannot allow this election to devolve in a tit for tat over name-calling and ‘gaffes,’ something that does not matter,” she said.
That argument, however, did not appear to sway many, including some of the left’s most venerated journalists. Some, like Jamil Smith, a senior writer for Rolling Stone magazine, have even called on the former vice president’s campaign to “step forward” and explain “what is going on with him.” To date, Biden’s campaign has offered no such explanation.