Joe Biden's Campaign Promptly Walks Back His Most Absurd Line of the Debate: 'Nobody Should Be in Jail for a Nonviolent Crime'
Joe Biden had plenty of moments that ended up on Twitter from Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Houston.
As you can probably imagine, none of them reflected well on the candidate.
The most popular moment, of course, was when Biden said children should listen to the “record player” to end racism or something. (Emphasis on the “or something.”)
However, there was another weird moment for Biden that would have a bit more import on the rest of his campaign — the part where he said the only people who ought to be in prison were those who had committed violent crimes.
Yes, you heard me right: A leading candidate for president said he believes stuff like embezzlement, fraud, perjury, drug dealing — none of that ought to warrant a prison sentence.
“The fact of the matter is that what’s happened is that we’re in a situation now where there are so many people who are in jail and shouldn’t be in jail. The whole means by which this should change is to — the model has to change,” he said.
But he didn’t stop there:
“Nobody should be in jail for a non-violent crime.” – Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/ODufiEWKKm
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) September 13, 2019
“Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime,” Biden said.
Biden added that “nobody should be in jail for a drug problem” and cited the record number of commutations for drug crimes under the Obama administration. However, that’s not really what people took away from the former vice president’s remarks:
Joe Biden says no non-Violent criminal should be in jail, so I assume he will pardon Paul Manafort.
— Chris Barron (@ChrisRBarron) September 13, 2019
So what Biden said exactly is: “Nobody should be in jail for a non-violent crime.” Manafort? Madoff? Aldrich Ames?
— Michael Isikoff (@Isikoff) September 13, 2019
MADOFF FOR JOE 2020 https://t.co/vdbV0RgkAM
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) September 13, 2019
So did @JoeBiden just endorse releasing Bernie Madoff and Martin Shkreli from jail??? #DemDebate https://t.co/yLHtJZb6Fw
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) September 13, 2019
You might think that Biden would be backpedaling this one. And you’d be right.
“Biden aide to me on his comment that ‘Nobody should be in jail for a non-violent crime,’” The Daily Beast’s Sam Stein reported via Twitter.
“He was talking about non violent drug offenses,” the source reportedly said. Of course he was.
Biden aide to me on his comment that “Nobody should be in jail for a non-violent crime.”
“He was talking about non violent drug offenses”
— Sam Stein (@samstein) September 13, 2019
Even still, this isn’t a particularly good explanation.
If you’re caught, say, importing a kilo of fentanyl into the United States, I don’t think that an ankle bracelet is going to cover it. If you’re a pill-mill doctor, probation isn’t exactly the solution.
But again, this is the problem with Biden.
I don’t think this resembles what he wanted to get across. I don’t particularly know he knew what he wanted to get across. I just think it sounded good to him at the time, so it tumbled out of his mouth.
His people scrambled to clean the mess up.
I hope they have the mops and brooms out, because after Thursday’s performance there’s a lot to clean up.
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