Biden repeats same story minutes apart as age concerns mount
President Biden repeated the same story twice, nearly word for word just moments apart while discussing his decision to run for the nation’s highest office during a campaign reception, according to a White House transcript released Thursday.
Speaking at a reelection fundraiser hosted by billionaire heiress and author Amy Goldman Fowler on Wednesday night in New York, Mr. Biden talked about why he decided to run for president in 2016.
Mr. Biden, who at 80 is already the oldest president in U.S. history, then discussed the deadly August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“You remember those folks walking out of the fields literally carrying torches, with Nazi swastikas, holding them forward, singing the same vicious, anti-Semitic bile — the same exact bile — bile that was sung in — in Germany in the early ‘30s. And a young woman was killed. A young woman was killed,” Mr. Biden said according to the official White House transcript.
Mr. Biden then went on to discuss then-President Trump’s reaction to the incident.
“The former guy was asked ‘What do you think would happen?’ He was the sitting president. And he said, ‘I thought there were some very fine people on both sides.’ And I mean this sincerely from the bottom of my heart that’s when I decided I — I was going to run again,” according to the transcript.
After briefly discussing how his family pressed him to run against Mr. Trump, he repeated the story nearly word for word.
“You know, you may remember that you know, those folks from Charlottesville, as they came out of the fields and carrying those swastikas, and remember the ones with the torches and the Ku — accompanied by the Ku Klux Klan. And in addition to that, they had — there were white supremacists. Anyway, they were making the big case about how terrible this was. And a young woman was killed in the process,” Mr. Biden said according to the transcript.
“And my predecessor, as I said, was asked what he thought. He said, ‘There are some very fine people on both sides.’ Well, that kept ringing in my head,” the president continued.
“And so, I couldn’t, quite frankly, remain silent any longer,” Mr. Biden concluded. “So, I decided I would run. And it became — I ran because I thought everything this country stood for was up for grabs for the first time in my career,” the transcript quotes him as saying.
The repeated story at the Wednesday evening fundraiser came after a day of other gaffes for the 80-year-old president.
During an appearance at the United Nations earlier in the day, Mr. Biden stumbled into the Brazilian flag nearly knocking it over. He then wandered offstage without shaking the hand of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who appeared visibly irritated by the snub.
Mr. Biden also fumbled with his headset, which he was using to hear a translated speech during Mr. Lula’s remarks in Portuguese.
The awkward day underscores voters’ concerns about his age, which is increasingly turning up in polls as a top worry among Americans.
An Associated Press/NORC poll found that 77% of Americans, including 69% of Democrats, say Mr. Biden is too old for another term. When the respondents were asked what word came to mind when they thought of Mr. Biden, 15% used words like “slow” or “confused.”