Joe Biden desperately wants to be president, but he’s already the king of gaffes. The 76-year-old former vice president has garnered a reputation as someone who frequently puts his foot in his mouth, raising questions about the candidate’s memory and readiness for office.
Some of his miscues are humorous but mostly harmless. Not long ago, for example, Biden stumbled over his words and declared that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” a faux pas that must have made even his campaign aides face-palm.
But a recent Biden statement is much more puzzling and alarming.
On Wednesday, a family member of a victim of the Sandy Hook school shooting called the Democratic candidate a liar for his response to a gun control video featuring the 2020 contender.
“The issue of gun violence has been a concern of mine for a long, long time,” Biden said in a video produced by the official Giffords political page promoting gun control on Twitter.
“What really got to me though, really firsthand, was what happened up at Sandy Hook,” the presidential candidate continued. “I think I met with every one of the parents and/or the families of those who were lost.”
The problem? There doesn’t appear to be any record that his statement is true. And more disturbingly, the brother of a Sandy Hook victim says it’s an outright lie.
This is a lie. Obama came to Sandy Hook and met with every family. Joe Biden DID NOT.
In fact, my family was not allowed on Air Force One because we refused to support Obama/Biden gun control efforts. https://t.co/SSIv7SpHVL
— JT Lewis (@thejtlewis) October 23, 2019
“This is a lie. Obama came to Sandy Hook and met with every family. Joe Biden DID NOT,” a man named JT Lewis tweeted in response to the video.
Lewis is the brother of Jesse Lewis, who was just six years old when he was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
“My family was not allowed on Air Force One because we refused to support Obama/Biden gun control efforts,” Lewis said.
That’s an eye-opening accusation. After all, you would think that only a sociopath would look into a camera reading prepared comments and lie about personally meeting with the families of dead children.
Shockingly, a bit of digging suggests that Lewis may be right. There was substantial news coverage of then-President Barack Obama’s visit to Newtown after the tragedy that featured photos of him meeting with grief-stricken family members. But there do not appear to be any photos or even mentions of Biden being part of that trip.
People reported that Biden did meet with a few of the Sandy Hook families, but in 2017 in New York — some five years after the actual incident. That report stated that the former vice president attended an event with “some of” the families, but even during that meeting he seemed to claim that he had already met with all of them previously.
“I think I’ve met virtually every one of the family members who lost a child or a teacher that day and they’re defined by their character, their consequence and their courage,” Biden said at the event.
A few news reports from the time of the shooting suggest that he might have called some of the families on the phone, but this too is a bit murky.
CNN did report in January 2013 that Biden spoke via telephone with some survivors, based on a brief statement from his son Beau Biden. “He was on the phone with many of the survivors of the tragedy in Connecticut,” the younger Biden claimed at the time.
Talking on the phone, however, is very different from personally meeting “with every one of the parents … of those who were lost.” It’s simply not the same thing, and one has to presume that JT Lewis would know if the vice president ever met with his parents.
The issue is more alarming when you remember that Joe Biden was already caught either misremembering or blatantly lying about being in office during another mass shooting. Two months ago, Biden declared that while vice president, he met with student survivors of the Parkland shooting.
Except it never happened, at least not the way Biden told it.
“I met with them and then they went off up on the Hill when I was vice president,” the candidate said in August, according to CNN. But the Parkland shooting was in 2018. Biden had been out of office for over a year.
A few mistakes here and there are only human. But a trend is alarming, especially coming from a man who wants to hold the highest office in America.
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