Former Vice President Joe Biden challenged a voter in Iowa to a push-up contest and IQ test Thursday, after the man asked him a challenging question about his son’s former lucrative position on the board of Burisma, a notoriously corrupt energy company in Ukraine.
Biden, 77, went off on the fellow senior citizen during a campaign event in New Hampton, Iowa.
“I’ve got a question I want you to answer. We all know Trump has been messing around in Ukraine over there, saying that they want to investigate you. He has no backbone, we know that,” the man began tentatively. “But you, on the other hand, sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company that he had no experience with gas or nothing in order to get access for the president. So you’re selling access to the president, just like he was,” the man said.
“You’re a damn liar, man. That’s not true,” Biden shot back at the man as he walked toward him menacingly. “No one has said my son has done anything wrong, and I did not on any occasion, and nobody has ever said it.”
But the man, a registered independent, wasn’t convinced, telling Biden that he had “seen it on the TV.”
“You see it on the TV, I know you do,” Biden said, before he launched into a tirade focusing on the man’s weight. “By the way, that’s why yo—I’m not sedentary—I don’t—I get up . . .”
At this point, a campaign aide tried to take the mic from the man, but he moved it away so he could continue to have his dialog with the candidate.
“Look, the reason I’m running is I’ve been around a long time and I know more than most people know. And I can get things done, that’s why I’m running,” Biden blustered.
“You want to check my shape man, let’s do push-ups together here, man,” Biden said. “Let’s run. Let’s do whatever you want to do. Let’s take an IQ test, OK?” At this point—inexplicably—the small crowd of mostly seniors applauded and cheered.
“Number two, no one has said my son has done anything wrong, and I did not on any occasion, and no one has ever said it—” he added.
“I did not say you were doing anything wrong,” the man said defensively.
“You said I set up my son to work on an oil company, isn’t that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack!” Biden bellowed angrily.
“I hear on MSNBC all the time—” the man began.
“You didn’t hear that on MSNBC, you did not hear that on MSNBC, look, I’m not going to get into an argument with you, man,” Biden said. “Look, fat—look, here’s the deal, here’s the deal . . .”
After Biden called him fat, the man said “You know what it looks like? You don’t have any more backbone than Trump does!” And the crowd jeered in disapproval.
When the man said he wouldn’t be voting for him, Biden shot back, “I knew that . . . you’re too old to vote for me!” to laughter and a smattering of applause.
Biden later said that the old man was “out of control” because he wouldn’t give the microphone back—although Biden himself told his staffer to stand down and allow the man to speak.
“What I wanted to make clear to him was that his—you know—if he gets more out of control, this is not appropriate behavior at all,” he said.
Joe Biden says the voter was "out of control"???
What Biden said to voter:
"You're a damn liar"pic.twitter.com/VGV388GzAG
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) December 5, 2019
After the confrontation, the man, who refused to give his name, told reporters that “[Biden] is so old, he’s senile anyhow” and encouraged Biden to drop out of the race. “It was all softball stuff, he don’t want to answer the hard stuff,” the voter said. “He’s been in the Congress all of his life, and all of these problems like high drug prices and all of that—where in the hell has he been for the last 50 years?”
While the senior was talking to reporters, another voter told him to “get out of here.” The man responded, using colorful language.
"Stick it up your ass, fella."
Voter that challenged @JoeBiden gets into confrontation with another voter that told him to "get out of here."
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) December 5, 2019
Biden spokesperson Symone Sanders pushed back on claims that Biden called the man “fat,” saying: “The VP began to say ‘Look, facts’ then said ‘here’s the deal.’ If you’ve been to a Biden event, you’ve heard this before.”
The reality is this – a reference was made to the "news" today and I think we all know which outlet has continued to peddle the debunked conspiracy theories cooked up by Trump and Rudy Guiliani about Ukraine. These lies will not go unchecked & we'll continue to lay out the facts.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) December 5, 2019
Of course, not everyone bought the denial.