Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden complimented the learning abilities of poor children — by comparing them to whites.
Mr. Biden made the remark in Iowa on Thursday evening to the Asian and Latino Coalition PAC, and a video of it was shared on social media by President Trump’s reelection campaign.
He said schools in poor areas should offer Advanced Placement and other enrichment programs.
“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,” he said, when applause started.
Mr. Biden then seemed to catch himself and added “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids, No, I really mean it.”
“Yikes…have fun mitigating that one,” Andrew Clark, rapid response director for the Trump campaign, wrote on Twitter.
Dana Loesch, a conservative activist and former spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, said it was likely just a slip of the tongue.
Mr. Biden has a history of dubious remarks — and subsequent apologetic backtracks — on topics related to racial minorities and other groups central to the current Democratic coalition.
• Earlier this year, when stressing the importance of there at least being “some civility” in Congress Mr. Biden spoke fondly and nostalgically of his relationship with two segregationist Democratic senators — James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, the former of whom “never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’ “
• In a 2008 interview with The Washington Post, he began remarks about the superiority of education and family life and structures in Iowa to Washington, D.C., by noting that “there’s less than 1% of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 of 5% that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you’re dealing with.”
• As a senator in 1975, Mr. Biden criticized busing children to integrated schools by saying that it was “a rejection of the entire black awareness concept, where black is beautiful, black culture should be studied; and the cultural awareness of the importance of their own identity, their own individuality.”
• In a 2007 conference call with reporters, Mr. Biden evaluated then-Sen. Barack Obama, a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination by noting he broke ground by being a clean and well-spoken black candidate. “I mean you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African American, who is articulate and bright, and clean and [a] nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man,” he said.
• In 2006, he noted the growing populations of South Asians in Delaware and tied them to a certain type of business owner. “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking,” he said.
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