Yet Another Biden Gaffe: '40 Kids Shot at Kent State,' Only Dozens More than Were Actually Shot


Joe Biden’s gaffe-a-minute campaign is at it again.

In the latest mistake from the Democrat frontrunner, Biden said that the National Guard was responsible for “40 kids shot at Kent State” back in 1970.

The number was quite a bit smaller, however.

The former vice president made the mistake on Friday as he was talking about the turbulent political climate in the late 1960s and early 1970s, beginning with when both Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated.

“My senior semester they were both shot and killed. Imagine what would have happened if, God forbid, Barack Obama had been assassinated after becoming the de facto nominee. What would have happened in America?” Biden said during the event in New Hampshire, according to the Washington Examiner.

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“Things changed,” he continued. “You had over 40 kids shot at Kent State on a beautiful lawn by the National Guard.”

The Kent State shootings — in which anti-war protesters were fired upon by National Guardsmen at the Ohio college — ended with four people dead and nine more injured.

This is the second major gaffe the 76-year-old Biden has made about the late 1960s in recent days.

During a speech in Iowa, Biden was unable to correctly place the decade — much less the year — in which both Kennedy and King were murdered.

“Just like in my generation when I got out of school, when Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King had been assassinated, in the ’70s, late ’70 when I got engaged,” Biden said.

“Um, you know, up to that time remember — none of you women will know this but a couple men may remember — that was a time in the early, late ’60s, early ’60s and ’60s where it was drop out, go to Haight-Asbury [sic], don’t get engaged, don’t trust anybody over 30.”

This comes as Biden’s gaffes have become increasingly frequent and problematic.

Within the last month, Biden told an audience at an Asian and Latino Coalition town hall on education that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” confused the names of former British prime ministers Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher, mistook the sites of two mass shootings (El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio) as “Houston” and “Michigan,” and managed to jumble the address for his campaign website and its text message number, telling those watching the last debate to go to “Joe 30330.”

He also said that he was vice president during the Parkland shooting (he wasn’t) and that Russian interference with American elections wouldn’t have happened while either he or Barack Obama was in office (it did).

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Biden’s gaffes are both an amusing diversion and a sign that Biden may not be the kind of guy who can survive the rigors of the 2020 campaign.

There are plenty of reasons to think that Biden might not be the nominee, especially considering his history and the fact that he’s not as far to the left as the modern Democratic Party is.

However, the most obvious problem Biden has to overcome is the gaffes.

It’s not as if he hasn’t had a problem with gaffes in the past. During the eight years of the Obama administration, Joe gave us plenty of priceless quotes. The same thing happened before he took the number two spot on the Obama ticket, as well — that is, when he wasn’t poaching Neil Kinnock’s life story.

If this continues apace and there’s a gaffe-a-day feel to the campaign, it’s going to be difficult to see Biden as a legitimate threat to capture the White House. That’s why incidents like this are so problematic. Saying that “40 kids [were] shot at Kent State” may just seem like a minor slip of the tongue.

When those minor slips add up, though, it’s a major issue.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture