The decade's most triggering comedy
This article has been revised for clarity and updated to include push back on the claim.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appeared to botch the words to America’s Pledge of Allegiance on Monday, drawing widespread mockery online.
“I don’t pledge allegiance to red states of America or blue states of America, I pledge allegiance to the United States of America. One nation, indivisible under God. For real,” Biden said in a clip shared online. “I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m not going to govern as a Democratic president, I’m going to govern as president.”
The Pledge of Allegiance states:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Joe Biden completely botches the Pledge of Allegiance:
"I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, under God, for real." pic.twitter.com/Gct4AEVWog
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) September 21, 2020
After the clip went viral, fact-checkers came to Biden’s defense, pointing out that the Democratic nominee wasn’t necessarily attempting to repeat the entire pledge. The clip and criticism is lacking “context,” as Lead Stories puts it:
Did Joe Biden completely botch the Pledge of Allegiance during a campaign speech? No, that’s not true and the comments were taken out of context. GOP rapid response director Steve Guest claimed that Biden “completely botches” the pledge during a campaign speech in a tweet that went viral. The Democratic nominee for president was criticizing Donald Trump and saying he would be a president for all of the people, not just people that live in blue or red states, and used the words from the Pledge of Allegiance to make his point, but he was not reciting the pledge.
This is not the first time that Biden has come under fire for reciting important statements from American tradition.
Earlier this month, a top press secretary for Biden erupted in anger “after he was asked during a live television interview if Biden has been using a teleprompter to answer questions during media interviews,” The Daily Wire reported. “The segment is especially newsworthy because Biden has faced repeated questions about his mental fitness for office, and the Trump campaign has continually highlighted instances in which Biden appears to be using a teleprompter to answer questions during interviews.”
“It’s worth noting that numerous Democrats, progressives, and left-wing publications have also questioned Biden’s mental fitness for office,” the report added. “Biden, who said a couple of months ago that he was ‘constantly tested’ for cognitive decline, walked those claims back last week, denying that he had been tested for cognitive decline and saying, ‘Why the hell would I take a test?’”
Washington Post columnist Mark Thiessen highlighted just a few of Biden’s recent struggles:
There is plenty of cause for concern. Biden recently announced “I think we can win back the House” and promised to ban the “AR-14.” He mistook Super Tuesday for “Super Thursday,” and forgot the words of the Declaration of Independence, saying “We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women are created, by the, you know, you know the thing.” In South Carolina, he misstated what office he was running for, declaring “My name’s Joe Biden. I’m a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.” On three occasions last month, Biden declared he was arrested in South Africa trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison — an incident his campaign later admitted never happened. He earlier described meeting a Navy captain in Afghanistan, but The Post reported that “almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect.” He claimed to have worked with Chinese leader “Deng Xiaoping” on the Paris Climate Accord (Deng died in 1997)/. He claimed during a debate that “150 million people have been killed [by guns] since 2007” (which would be nearly half the U.S. population). He said he met with Parkland victims while he was vice president even though the shooting took place after he left office. He has declared that Democrats should “choose truth over facts” and that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” He pledged to use biofuels to power “steamships.” He repeatedly gets confused about what state he is in; called “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace “Chuck”; said his late son Beau “was the attorney general of the United States”; and confused former British prime minister Theresa May with the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Any one of these gaffes in isolation would be nothing more than that. But taken together they form a pattern – and raise questions about whether Biden has experienced a cognitive decline. Biden’s defenders say this is unfair, and some have even suggested raising it is ageism. No, it’s not. His socialist rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is 78 — almost a year older than Biden — yet no one is questioning his mental fitness. On Monday night, Sanders spent an hour at a Fox News town hall where he was challenged to defend his policies and answered in great detail and without any gaffes or senior moments. Could Biden do the same?