News and Commentary

Trump Smacks Biden Over Gaffes, Education: ‘Don’t Ever Use The Phrase ‘Smart’ With Me’
CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 29: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the first presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first of three planned debates between the two candidates in the lead up to the election on November 3. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump slammed Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s intelligence during a debate Tuesday night, using the former vice president’s college rankings and past gaffes against him.

Trump and Biden met on a debate stage in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday night for the first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign, hosted by Fox News and moderated by anchor Chris Wallace. Wallace brought up the coronavirus pandemic for discussion, prompting Biden to attack Trump for the administration’s response.

“A lot of people died, and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter, a lot quicker,” Biden said toward the end of one answer.

Wallace turned the floor over to Trump for a response.

“Did you use the word ‘smart?’” Trump asked Biden. “So you said you went to Delaware State, but you forgot the name of your college. You didn’t go to Delaware State. You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don’t ever use the word ‘smart’ with me. Don’t ever use that word.”

As Trump launched into the attack, Biden began to laugh and said, “Oh give me a break, man.”

“Because you know what? There is nothing more about you. In 47 years, you’ve done nothing,” Trump said, referencing Biden’s tenure in politics. “Let me just tell you something, Joe. If you would have had the charge of what I was put through, I had to close the greatest economy in the history of our country — and, by the way, now it is being built again and it is going up fast.”

The moderator Wallace then stepped in to try to gain control, telling the president that the economy would be a topic of discussion in the next segment.

Trump pointed to Wallace and said, “It’s going up fast. I look forward to talking about it.”

Biden said he “got started out of” Delaware State University, a historically black college, during an October 2019 town hall event.

“I got started out of an HBCU, Delaware State — now, I don’t want to hear anything negative about Delaware State,” Biden told the assembled crowd, The Washington Times reported. “They’re my folks.”

Delaware State news service director Carlos Holmes responded to Biden’s recirculated comment  last week, saying that the former vice president never attended the college, though he did visit the campus twice as a speaker.

“Vice President Biden did not attend DSU,” Holmes told The Washington Times in an email. “However he was the Commencement keynote speaker in 2003 and [2016], and during the former he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree.”

Holmes has since walked back his statement, stating that he does not believe Biden was attempting to claim that he attended the school. “He ‘got his start’ when he announced his first run for the U.S. Senate on our campus in 1972 with then-Delaware State College President Luna Mishoe at his side,” Holmes said. “For three decades, first as U.S. Senator and then as Vice President, Joe Biden has been our advocate and partner to such a critical extent that in 2003 the University awarded him an honorary doctorate.”

In 1987, Biden got into a spat with a questioner during a campaign stop, angrily telling the person that “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do,” according to an Associated Press report from that year. During that exchange, Biden also wrongly stated that he graduated in the top half of his law school class.

“The first year in law school I decided I didn’t want to be in law school and ended up in the bottom two-thirds of my class and then decided I wanted to stay and went back to law school and in fact ended up in the top half of my class,” Biden said. His college records were later released indicating that he finished law school ranked 76th in a class of 85 students.

This article has been expanded to include more context on Biden’s DSU’s comment.

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