Sarah Huckabee Sanders Apologizes for Mocking Biden's Remarks on Stuttering

December 23, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Sarah Sanders apologized late Thursday after she mocked comments by former Vice President Joe Biden during the Democratic presidential debate in which he recounted mentoring a boy who had a speech impediment.

Sanders, the former White House press secretary, made the remarks on Twitter after Biden, who has been open about his stutter and his struggle with it since he was a child, described his interaction with the boy.

“The little kid who said: ‘I can’t talk. What do I do?’” Biden said, speaking haltingly over the “I” and “what” for emphasis.

Shortly after, Sanders tweeted, “I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I hhhave absolutely no idea what Biden is talking about.” The post has since been deleted.

A barrage of criticism of Sanders followed.

“This is the most disgusting tweet of the night,” wrote Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for Sen. Cory Booker, who is also running for president.

Andrew Bates, one of Biden’s campaign staff members, wrote, “An insultingly stupid whopper from Sarah Huckabee Sanders — now I’ve seen everything.”

But Sanders did not retreat until after Biden responded.

“I’ve worked my whole life to overcome a stutter,” he tweeted. “And it’s my great honor to mentor kids who have experienced the same. It’s called empathy. Look it up.”

Sanders replied: “I actually didn’t know that about you and that is commendable. I apologize and should have made my point respectfully.”

Biden turned the exchange into an opportunity to raise money for his campaign.

“If you believe we need to bring empathy back to the White House chip in $5,” he wrote soon after, linking to a donation page.

While Biden has often spoken about his stutter, he has a history of making gaffes and has made a number of confusing remarks on the campaign trail, sometimes mixing up countries, cities or dates or cutting himself off midsentence.

Biden’s struggles with verbal stumbles were documented in a lengthy article in The Atlantic that was published online last month.

“Stuttering gave me an insight I don’t think I ever would have had into other people’s pain,” he told the magazine.

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Sanders left the White House in June after a tumultuous tenure as President Donald Trump’s press secretary, but she has hardly kept a low profile, often taking jabs on Twitter at the Democratic presidential candidates.

She has indicated she is planning her own run for office, most likely for governor of Arkansas, her home state, which Trump won in 2016 by nearly 27 points. That job will open in 2023, when Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s term is up.

“There are two types of people who run for office,” Sanders told The New York Times last month. “People that are called and people that just want to be a senator or governor. I feel like I’ve been called.”

In 2015, Biden wrote a letter to the Stuttering Foundation in support of Stuttering Awareness Week that described the frustration of living with the condition.

“My stutter embarrassed me and made me question myself and abilities daily,” Biden wrote. “But, I was lucky to find love and support through my family. It was constantly reinforced that I was as bright and capable as any of the other kids in my class.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

© 2019 The New York Times Company