Not once, but twice over the weekend, Joe Biden claimed that while he was vice president, he had met with Parkland students following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.
The gaffe-prone Democratic frontrunner made the comments during the Everytown for Gun Safety Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines on Saturday, after a series of verbal missteps.
“I watched what happened when the kids from Parkland marched up to, and I met with them and they went off to up on the Hill and I was vice president they went to the Hill … all those congressmen were like, ‘No, I’m not here. I’m not here,’ “ Biden said.
The Parkland shooting happened more than a year after Joe Biden left office. This is one of two different times today he claimed he met with survivors of it "when I was Vice President." pic.twitter.com/EAyMyCsLSq
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 10, 2019
Biden repeated the same basic line to reporters, adding “lawmakers were “basically cowering, not wanting to see them.”
At the same event, Biden also declared, “”We choose truth over facts!”
Joe Biden Claims He Was Vice President During 2018 Parkland Shooting pic.twitter.com/lp9TzS9zGn
— 🦖Mike Asaurus Wrex🇺🇸 (@BMXMiKEWREX) August 11, 2019
The fact that Biden repeated the same basic line twice suggests that he had rehearsed the talking points ahead of time.
Of course, Biden’s talking points were obviously wrong. The shooting in Parkland, Florida took place on February 14, 2018–over a year after he left the White House.
A Biden campaign official originally told reporters that the candidate was referring to the Sandyhook school shooting, which happened in December of 2012. But those elementary school students did not go on a whirlwind media tour like the Parkland students did.
Biden did meet with students from Parkland on March 23, 2018, a year and two months after he left office.
A spokeswoman for Biden, Kate Bedingfield, later suggested in a tweet that the reason Biden has so many senior moments is because he spends so much time consoling “Americans in their time of need.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who consoles Americans in their time of need so often that he sometimes mistakes the timing? But even more so, wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who will actually fight to prevent these tragedies? https://t.co/EMMqkGnu90 https://t.co/pKR7bVgplO
— Kate Bedingfield (@KBeds) August 11, 2019
The former vice president is notorious for making verbal blunders and most politicos chalk it up to “jow being Joe,” but his non-stop gaffe-athon in Iowa this past week has some Democrat voters and political pundits wondering if he’ll make it through the primaries.
“Well, I like Biden, he just keeps saying dumb stuff. He feels comfortable in interviews, but his staff just needs to really consider what they’re letting him say,” George Alberson, a 62-year-old retiree told the Washington Examiner. “People I know still like Biden. Whether that’s predicated on the facts, I have no idea.”
As noted above, during a stump speech in Iowa, Biden also flubbed his standard campaign line, “we choose truth over lies,” saying instead, “we choose truth over facts.”
In answer to a student’s question at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, Biden proclaimed that there are “at least three” genders, and when asked to explain what they were, he dismissed the young woman’s question. “Don’t play games with me, kid,” he said irritably. Then he grabbed her arm forcefully and added “by the way, the first one to come out for marriage was me.”
Katie is a young student from Iowa.
She asked former VP Joe Biden how many genders there are.
Joe answered “at least 3.”
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 9, 2019
Biden was apparently referring to gay marriage, and no, he wasn’t the first person to come out for that, obviously.
Biden gaffed again at a campaign stop in Iowa Thursday evening, when he seemed to conflate “poor kids” with minority children, and proclaimed that they are “just as bright and talented” as the white kids.
Biden was speaking at the Asian & Latino Coalition Town Hall in Des Moines about the need to challenge students. “We have this notion that if you are poor, you cannot do it,” Biden said. “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” Realizing his gaffe, he quickly added, “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids — no I really mean it.”
Joe Biden: “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” pic.twitter.com/YhDSMnoRce
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) August 9, 2019
Biden also recently confused the locations of the two most recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, calling them “tragic events in Houston” and “in Michigan.”
“It’s dangerous territory, obviously. It plays into the narrative that Donald Trump would like to create about him,” said Democrat power-player Grant Woodard told VICE News. “His greatest asset in this race is he’s perceived to be the most electable in the general election and these unforced errors he creates undermine that argument.”
“Joe’s too old,” another Iowa Democrat told VICE.
President Trump didn’t miss the opportunity to question Biden’s mental fitness after the “poor kids/white kids” gaffe, telling reporters last week: “Look, Joe is not playing with a full deck. I saw his comment. Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck. This is not somebody you can have as your president.”
“Does anybody really believe he is mentally fit to be president?” he tweeted. “Joe doesn’t have a clue.
Joe Biden just said, “We believe in facts, not truth.” Does anybody really believe he is mentally fit to be president? We are “playing” in a very big and complicated world. Joe doesn’t have a clue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2019
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)