In a 2016 speech to U.S. troops in the United Arab Emirates, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told the troops to “Clap for that, you stupid bastards.” in a newly resurfaced video.
A Biden campaign spokesperson who spoke with The Daily Beast confirmed Biden’s remarks as accurate but said the remarks were made in jest, as Biden was touting U.S. Air Force Lt. Karen Johnson, for whom he had called on the troops to applaud. The video of Biden’s comments has been available on YouTube since 2017 but has now resurfaced with weeks to go before the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election.
Biden’s apparent joking remarks begin at 1:36 minutes.
“Vice President Biden was jokingly encouraging the audience to clap for an airwoman on the stage, and a number of service members can be seen laughing and smiling at the comment,” Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates told The Daily Beast. “Seconds before, he praised them for ‘the incredible sacrifices [they] make for our country.'”
In the video, Biden says, “I’ve been in and out of the Balkans 25 times; in and out of Iraq 26 times; in and out of Afghanistan about 10 or 12 times. And I have one regret every time I’m with you all — and I mean this sincerely — is the folks back home can’t see you; can’t see you in place. Don’t get to fly on the mission with you. Don’t understand — they appreciate, but they don’t fully understand the incredible sacrifices you make for our country.”
Biden continued, saying, “I want you to know notwithstanding what you may hear about me, I have incredibly good judgment. One, I married Jill,” referring to wife Jill Biden, also in attendance. “And two, I appointed Johnson to the academy. I just want you to know that. Clap for that, you stupid bastards.”
“Man, you are a dull bunch,” Biden added. “Must be slow here, man. I don’t know.”
Bates said Biden closed his remarks to the troops by thanking them for their service and referring to them as “the finest generation of warriors the world has ever, ever known.”
The comments by Biden have resurfaced after a recent article published by The Atlantic and citing anonymous sources, claimed that during a November 2018 visit to FrancePresident Donald Trump disparaged U.S. troops killed in combat as “losers” and “suckers.” Trump also reportedly declined to visit a cemetery near Paris, where U.S. war dead were buried, because he didn’t feel it was important to honor those fallen service members.
Trump immediately denounced the article’s claims as a “fake story.” According to Trump’s campaign website, citing various media reports, 21 current and former administration officials, including 14 officials who were present during the Paris trip, have also disputed the claims made in The Atlantic article.