During an interview on December 6 for NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Rachel Martin asked former Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden about a recent confrontation he had with an 83-year-old man while on the campaign trail.
MARTIN: I want to switch gears and ask you about what happened the other day at your town hall because you got a lot of attention for it. A man stood up and started throwing false allegations your way about your son Hunter Biden and his work in Ukraine and your work as vice president then in Ukraine. And you responded by calling him a “damn liar.”
BIDEN: Because he lied.
MARTIN: And then you challenged him to push ups. And then you asked him for an IQ test.
Biden then claimed that his push up challenge and IQ remarks were merely jokes because the man told him that he was “too old.”
This prompted Martin to make a comparison between Biden and President Donald Trump.
MARTIN: Which is what Donald Trump says a lot. “Hey, you can’t take a joke. I was joking.”
BIDEN: No, no, no, no, no. Don’t compare me to Donald Trump.
MARTIN: But people did. At the town hall I was just at.
BIDEN: No, they didn’t.
MARTIN: Yes they did. They said to me, the woman you met at the end, 94-year-old Mary said to me, “I was so disappointed in him.” This is a direct quote. “That is not the Joe I know. He sounded like Donald Trump in that clip.”
Biden defended himself by claiming that what Trump does is different, that “he makes fun of people. He belittles people. He lies. I don’t do any of those things. Period.”
Biden added: “The fact of the matter is this guy stood up, and he was, in fact, lying. And I just pointed out, ‘You’re a liar.’ It’s a fact. He lied. Period.”
Biden admitted that perhaps he shouldn’t have challenged the 83-year-old to push ups.
Martin didn’t back down, saying that the “point was, in this time when you talk about needing to restore civility, it’s so important to so many people.”
“That’s not civil? To call someone who lied a liar?” Biden asked.
“To call someone a ‘damn liar’? A voter? This isn’t Trump,” Martin replied.
Biden hit back: “But he’s lying! He’s lying. You acknowledge what he said wasn’t even true. None of the mainstream media believes any of that was true.”
When Martin then suggested that “it was the tone … that was off-putting to people,” Biden simply said, “My mother would say, ‘God love you dear.’”
Joe Biden called a voter a “damn liar” during a heated town hall exchange this week.
Voters say they felt his tone was off-putting — especially from a candidate who talks a lot about restoring civility.
“That’s not civil?” Biden told NPR. “To call someone who lied a liar?” pic.twitter.com/QocHWQ46tO
— NPR (@NPR) December 7, 2019
During a campaign event in Iowa on Thursday, Biden did indeed get in a testy exchange with an elderly voter.
The 83-year-old voter said the following to Biden: “We all know Trump has been messing around in Ukraine over there, holding their foreign aid … but you, on the other hand, sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company [and] had no experience in gas … in order to get access [for the president]. You’re selling access to the president just like he was.”
Biden shot back: “You’re a damn liar, man. That’s not true. And no one has ever said that. No one [has proved that].”
The man then stated that he heard it on TV.
“The reason I’m running is because I’ve been around a long time, and I know more than most people know, and I can get things done. And that’s why I’m running,” Biden replied.
The former vice president then dropped the push up challenge.
Biden added that “no one has said my son has done anything wrong, and I did not on any occasion – and no one had ever said it.”
The man shot back, claiming that he “didn’t say” Biden was “doing anything wrong.”
Biden tersely replied: “You said I set up my son to work on an oil company. Isn’t that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack!”