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Elizabeth Yenzer

2020 is a standout year when it comes to presidential behavior and mishaps.

Presidential personality

October 21, 2020

So are you voting for creepy old man number one or number two? Although every election brings candidates’ character into question, 2020 is a standout year when it comes to presidential behavior and mishaps. Here are a few of the most outrageous statements by presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Joe Biden

“I got hairy legs that turn blonde in the sun. And the kids used to come up and reach in the pool and rub my leg down so it was straight and then watch the hair come back up again. I love kids jumping on my lap.”
This disturbing quote from Biden comes from a 2020 campaign speech, as he discussed his past experience working as a lifeguard. Voters took to social media to share disdain for the unsettling speech. “This can’t be real life…” wrote one Twitter user.

“You got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
Biden gave this backhanded compliment to Barack Obama during Obama’s 2008 campaign. The offensive generalization about African American presidential candidates before Obama caused criticism for Biden. The Democratic candidate later said the statement was taken out of context and Obama told reporters he was not offended, but the comment still prompted scrutiny.

“Chuck Graham, state senator, is here. Stand up Chuck, let ‘em see you.”
This statement may seem harmless at first, but becomes cringeworthy when considering Graham, former Missouri state senator, was paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. The blunder at a 2008 campaign rally caused awkward tension and further criticism of Biden’s situational awareness.

“Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
In another racially charged mishap, Biden implied that not only are Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) inherently poor but also generally considered to be less intelligent than white kids. He corrected himself after a brief pause: “wealthy kids, Black kids, Asian kids,” but the offensive comment already landed.

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Donald Trump

“I don’t think science knows, actually.”
This Trump quote came from a brief in September 2020 regarding the California wildfires. Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary, urged the president to consider the impact climate change had on the fires. Trump seemed to disagree with not only Crowfoot but ‘science’ as a whole. “It will start getting cooler,” he continued. “Just you watch.”

“I have Black guys counting my money … I hate it … laziness is a trait in Blacks. It really is, I believe that.”
“Trumped!” is a 1991 book by John R. O’Donnell, former president of New Jersey’s Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, where O’Donnell recounted this offensive quote, among many others. Trump’s incidents of racism are numerous, although he seems to believe otherwise. “I am not a racist,” the president responded in a 2016 Washington Post interview. “In fact, I am the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered.”

“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy.”
This degrading comment by Trump was caught on a 2005 recording obtained by The Washington Post. The conversation with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush took place on the set of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” and the recording included several other references to groping women. The president later dismissed the comments as “locker-room talk.” Trump’s attitude toward women has been one of his presidency’s most divisive issues. His often vulgar comments about women combined with at least 25 allegations of sexual assault make the incumbent nothing short of an American woman’s nightmare.

“It’s a disease, without question, [that] has more names than any disease in history. I can name kung flu, I can name 19 different versions of names.”
When referencing COVID-19, Trump has used a variety of these names, including “kung flu” and “the Chinese virus.” The president’s attitude towards the pandemic only amplifies xenophobia toward Asian Americans. In May 2020, the organization Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate reported over 1,500 instances of racism toward Asian people as a result of the virus, and Trump’s comments certainly did not help the matter.

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