Former Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd in Iowa on Thursday that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids," an awkward gaffe that came during a conversation about discrimination faced by low-income students.
“We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” Biden, who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said during a town hall in Des Moines with the Asian and Latino Coalition.
He paused, then quickly clarified, “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids.”
“No, I really mean it, but think how we think about it,” he said.
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Though Biden's remarks were greeted with applause in the room, President Donald Trump's 2020 campaign quickly pounced on the gaffe, tweeting out video of the speech.
“Yikes...have fun mitigating that one,” Andrew Clark, the campaign’s rapid response director, tweeted.
The attack led to bitter back-and-forth between the Trump and the Biden camps that went on through much of Friday morning.
Kate Bedingfield, Biden's deputy campaign manager, said in a statement that the former vice president "misspoke and immediately corrected himself during a refrain he often uses to make the point that all children deserve a fair shot, and children born into lower-income circumstances are just as smart as those born to wealthy parents."
She also hit back at the Trump campaign, saying that "Trump is desperate to change the subject from his atrocious record of using racism to divide this country."
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Later, Trump himself told reporters on the White House lawn that Biden is "not playing with a full deck."
"He made the comment ... I said, 'Whoa,'" Trump said.
Moments later, a Biden campaign aide told NBC News that Trump's "deck is all jokers.”
Biden's awkward course-correction came just days after he excoriated Trump for having a “toxic tongue” that he said has inflamed the nation’s divisions, saying that he lacked the moral authority to lead America.