The Corner

Elections

The Three Strangest Lines from Biden’s Breakfast Club Interview

Former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a CNN townhall in Los Angeles, Calif., October 10, 2019. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

At their beginning of their 20-minute interview, the Breakfast Club‘s “Charlamagne tha God” told Joe Biden that he wanted to talk “about mostly black stuff.” Whatever “black stuff” is, exactly, Joe Biden was clearly struggling to discuss it.

Three moments stood out. First, Biden and the host engaged in a protracted conversation about the infamous 1994 crime legislation that Biden wrote as a senator. After offering a scattershot defense of the bill, Biden began talking about the ways he’d like to reform the criminal-justice system. He said:

There’s only a couple [of] things everyone has in common in jail. One is, they were victims of abuse, or their kids were — or their mother was. Number two, can’t read. Number three, they don’t have any job skills. They were in a position where they didn’t get a chance.

Biden’s characteristic delivery — peppered with such Little League coach-isms as “here’s the deal” and “period” — does not lend itself to nuance, which partially explains his bizarre insistence that all prisoners are abuse victims, illiterate, and unskilled. But here, in fact, is the deal: Some prisoners are one of those three things, a few prisoners are all of those things, and many prisoners are none of those things.

All of which seems a bit pedantic given the current president’s wont for exaggeration, but Biden is running against that sort of shoot-from-the-hip style, so it’s worth cataloguing his errors on that score.

Biden continued:

No one should be going to jail for drug crime. Period. Nobody. Nobody. No matter what the crime.

“His claim that “no one” should go to jail for drug crime is obviously fodder for a Trump attack ad, and in the opioid-ravaged Midwest, the ad practically cuts itself. Unfair, perhaps, but that is politics.

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