Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has apologized for making a joke about Joe Biden just days after the vice president's eldest son died from brain cancer.
"Vice President Joe Biden. You know the nice thing? You don't need a punchline," the Texas senator said at a GOP dinner in Howell, Michigan, on Wednesday night.
"I promise you it works. The next party you're at, just walk up to someone and say, 'Vice President Joe Biden' and just close your mouth. They will crack up laughing," he said, repeating a joke he has used in previous speeches.
Cruz told reporters after the event that 46-year-old Beau Biden's death on Saturday was "heartbreaking and tragic" and said his prayers were with the vice president and his family.
But when Cruz was asked by Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood: "Why did you tell a joke about the vice president tonight?" the senator walked away without commenting. The joke and exchange with reporters was uploaded to YouTube by Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century.
After a considerable backlash on social media, Cruz posted on his Facebook page late Wednesday saying "it was a mistake to use an old joke about Joe Biden during his time of grief, and I sincerely apologize."
The post added: "The loss of his son is heartbreaking and tragic, and our prayers are very much with the vice president and his family."