It seems Joe Biden can’t escape the gaffe curse. The front runner to become the Democratic presidential candidate told reporters in Iowa on Saturday that “those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president.” But when they went to Capitol Hill, lawmakers were “basically cowering, not wanting to see them. They did not want to face it on camera.” The problem with this tale? The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead took place in 2018, more than a year after Biden left the White House.
Although there was some basis in truth for what Biden said, considering he did meet with Stoneman students in Washington shortly after the shooting, this was the latest in a string of gaffes that some say could end up dooming his prospects as a presidential candidate. In this case, Biden got his shootings mixed up and meant to make reference to the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Before this latest gaffe, Biden was already trying to dig himself out of a hole he made for himself when he told supporters that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” He quickly corrected himself and admitted Saturday that he misspoke but accused the media of making a mountain out of a molehill. “I meant to say ‘wealthy.’ I’ve said it 15 [times]. On the spot, I explained it. At that very second, I explained it,” Biden said. “And so, the fact of the matter is that I don’t think anybody thinks that I meant anything other than what I said I meant.” The former vice president also recently confused the locations of the two recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, referring to the “tragic events in Houston” and “also in Michigan.” He quickly corrected himself.
Although Biden has long been known for his penchant for gaffes, some worry that it could raise uncomfortable questions about how long he has been a Washington insider. “It does speak to the fact that we’ve always known that Joe Biden is gaffe-prone,” Democratic strategist Adrienne Elrod said. “It’s part of his charm, but for him, does it remind people of his age and how long he’s been around?”