Joe Biden has retreated for a lengthy vacation after a series of gaffes and verbal missteps consumed his campaign.
The former vice president’s staff announced Wednesday that the 76-year-old Biden had been vacationing since Sunday in his home state of Delaware.
Two 2020 candidates fully off the campaign trail at the moment:
–@TulsiGabbard is in Indonesia doing National Guard training through the end of the month
–@JoeBiden has been on vacation since Sunday in Delaware
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) August 14, 2019
Biden’s sojourn from the campaign trail is the longest since he announced his candidacy back in April. It also comes directly after a hellish week of high-profile gaffes in Iowa that reignited concerns over the former vice president’s fitness for elective office.
The trouble began innocuously enough last week, with Biden telling voters at the Iowa State Fair that “we choose truth over facts.”
“Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. We got to let him know who we are. We choose unity over division,” he said towards the end of his stump speech. “We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts.”
Many of the those watching were confused. As Breitbart News has reported, the comment was likely the result of Biden flubbing an applause line he frequently uses on the trail: “we have to choose hope over fear, unity over division and, maybe most importantly, truth over lies.”
Even though the gaffe received media attention, it was soon outdone by bigger and more prominent verbal missteps. Later that evening, Biden confused the name of recently ousted British prime minister, Theresa May, with the late-Margaret Thatcher – who left office in 1990.
“Words that stunned the nation, and I would argue – I know – shocked the world. International leaders spoke about it,” Biden told the Asian and Latino Coalition of Des Moines, Iowa when falsely alleging Trump praised the neo-Nazis that marched on Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 as “very fine people.”
“You had people like Margaret Thatch… excuse me,” the former vice president said catching himself. “You had people like the former chairman and the leader of the party in Germany. You had Angela Merkel stand up and say how terrible it was. International leaders looked at us like, ‘what in God’s name is happening to the United States of America?’”
The blunder, while noticeable, was not Biden’s biggest of the night. While discussing his plans to reform America’s education system, Biden stated that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
“We should challenge these students, we should challenge students in these schools to have advanced placement programs in these schools,” the former vice president said. “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.”
While the gaffes drew notice and derision from across the political spectrum, with Trump even mocking the former vice president for not “playing with a full deck,” it was a statement the 76-year-old Biden made on Saturday while discussing gun control that raised the most concerns.
“Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president,” Biden told a group of reporters, 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.”
Many were quick to point out that the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which resulted in 17 fatalities and over a dozen injuries, occurred on February 14, 2018, more than a year after Biden left the White House.
After that gaffe, Biden disappeared from public view – something he similarly did in June after coming under fire for flip-flopping on abortion.
Despite the former vice president’s hasty retreat, the damage to his campaign was already done. As soon as Biden uttered the “white kids” comment, a number of prominent liberals had begun calling on his campaign to prove he was up to the rigors of running for president.
Instead of doing so, however, Biden’s campaign turned its attention on the media. In what appeared to be a coordinated attack, several top Biden staffers and their allies began accusing the press of playing up the former vice president’s gaffes in order to push their “narrative.”
“This is a press narrative, not a voter narrative,” Symone Sanders, the campaign’s spokeswoman, said on Monday during a CNN appearance.
“We cannot allow this election to devolve in a tit for tat over name-calling and ‘gaffes,’ something that does not matter,” she added.