Joe Biden is taking heat for misstating several facts during a CNN town hall in Pennsylvania, where he misled undecided voters about a number of points, including that he’d be the first president without an Ivy League degree and that President Trump hasn’t condemned white supremacists.
Biden, 77, boasted during Thursday’s town hall hosted by Anderson Cooper that he’d be first commander-in-chief to not have an Ivy League education on his résumé, seemingly unaware that President Ronald Reagan, who was elected in 1980, went to Illinois’ Eureka College while several other presidents didn’t even get a college degree.
“When you guys started talking on television about ‘Biden, if he wins will be the first person without an Ivy League degree to be elected president,’ I said, ‘Who the hell makes you think I need an Ivy League degree to be president?’” Biden said. “I’m not joking.”
The Washington Post, however, noted that “no reporter said that,” adding that neither Biden nor his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, had attended an Ivy League institution.
That makes the Biden-Harris ticket the first such pairing since 1984 – with Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro – to have two non-Ivy League graduates. If Biden and Harris win in November, they’d become the first without Ivy League pedigree since Jimmy Carter and Mondale in 1976.
Biden, who graduated from the Syracuse University College of Law, said he was the first in his family to go to college, but he admitted to the New York Times in 1987 that wasn’t true, saying relatives on his mother’s side had “went to college” in a report about him plagiarizing a law review article during his first year at law school.
Biden also misspoke Thursday when he was asked by a retired police chief about ongoing violence throughout the country, claiming he has “condemned every form” of it while accusing Trump of staying mum on the “far-right” and white supremacists.
“I’m waiting for the day when he says, ‘I condemn all those white supremacists, I condemn all those militia guys as much as I do every other organizational structure,” Biden said.
However, Trump has spoken out about white supremacists several times, including days after the 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and last year after shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
Within days of the spat of violence in Charlottesville the president made remarks from the White House, saying, “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
Addressing the El Paso and Dayton shootings in August, 2019, Trump said, “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” He added, “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
Biden also misrepresented comments made by Attorney General Bill Barr, who said Wednesday that COVID-19 lockdowns were the “greatest intrusion of civil liberties” in US history “other than slavery.”
“What Bill Barr recently said is outrageous,” Biden said. “That it’s [mask-wearing] like slavery. You’re taking away freedom. I would tell you what takes away your freedom. What takes away your freedom is not being able to see your kid, not being able to go to the football game or baseball game, not being able to see your mom or dad sick in the hospital, not being able to do the things. That’s what’s cost us our freedom.”
Barr was referencing lockdowns caused by the virus, but did not compare mask-wearing to slavery during his comments Wednesday at a Michigan college.
Speaking at Hillsdale on Wednesday, Barr said, “Putting a national lockdown stay-at-home orders is like house arrest, its– other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint– this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”
Biden also seemed to not be practicing the social distancing that he preaches, as he and Cooper, both of whom weren’t wearing masks, were caught approaching within feet of each other as the program went to a commercial break.
At the start of the broadcast, Anderson Cooper mentioned, “As you can see, I’m not wearing a mask tonight. I tested negative for coronavirus this morning. Still, I’ll be keeping my distance, as will all of the participants in tonight’s town hall who are here.”
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