Former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential contender, said that he was likely wrong to have challenged an Iowa voter to a pushup contest when the man queried him about his son and alleged that he was too old to run for president.
“I probably shouldn’t have challenged him to pushups,” Biden told reporters in Iowa on Dec. 6.
“It’s going to be part of what is the opposition’s case, you know. You’ve done a bad thing, so and so—which is not true. But I’m confident that it’s not true. Trump’s already spending $12 million to make the same message, send the same message, and there’s nothing to the message,” he also said.
Biden, 77, called a retired farmer in Iowa a “damn liar” while on the campaign trail on Dec. 5.
The man had accused him of sending his son, Hunter Biden, to Ukraine to get a board member seat with Burisma, an energy company.
“You, on the other hand, sent your son over there to get a job for a gas company with no experience in order to get access to the president. You’re selling access to the president,” he said.
Biden called him a “damn liar” and said that the man’s accusation that he was too old to run was also false.
“You want to check my shape on, let’s do pushups together, man, let’s run, let’s do whatever you want to do,” he said. He later called the man “fat.”
Biden last year bragged that he got a Ukrainian prosecutor ousted in 2016 by threatening to withhold $1 billion in aid unless then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ousted Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor. Shokin was probing Burisma at the time.
Shokin’s replacement closed the investigation.
Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing. Hunter Biden left Burisma earlier this year. Several Senate committees are probing the Bidens over what transpired in Ukraine.
The Iowa voter later spoke to reporters.
“I’m not trying to cause him problems, I’m just trying to bring out all of this [expletive] that he’s been telling here today is all softball stuff. He don’t wanna answer the hard stuff.”
The man noted that Biden spent decades in Congress in addition to his eight years as vice president and wondered what he’d accomplished on matters like lowering drug prices.
“Where in the hell has he been for the last 50 years? And he’s going to change it all now?” the man said.
Pressed on whether Biden had been hostile to him, the man said, “At least he’s not getting so old that he’s senile, anyhow.”
Biden’s adviser, Symone Sanders, later issued a statement claiming the voter is “a self-identified [Elizabeth] Warren supporter” who would vote for Biden in the general election. “His facts were flat-out wrong,” she added, also claiming that Biden said “facts,” not “fat.”