Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden scolded a black journalist when he asked the former Vice President whether he would take a cognitive test, claiming taking such test would be like asking the reporter if he’d been tested for cocaine use before his TV on-air appearance.
“No, I haven’t taken a test,” Biden responded with an obvious anger. “Why the hell would I take a test?”
The former Vice President would then ridicule CBS News reporter Errol Barnett who was one of the panel interviewing Biden as part of a joint convention hosted by the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The full interview is scheduled to air on Thursday.
“Come on, man. That’s like saying to you before you got on this program if you had taken a test were you taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?” Biden continued, laughing at the end of his response.
Barnett didn’t seem bothered by being offended by Biden’s insensitive remarks and went on with the interview. He followed up asking Biden what would he say to Trump “who brags about his test and makes your mental state an issue for voters?”
“Well, if he can’t figure out the difference between an elephant and a lion, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” Biden replied, referencing the mental acuity test Trump has repeatedly pressured the former vice president to take.
“Did you watch that — look, come on, man. I know you’re trying to goad me,” he added.
Biden’s campaign defended those comments by calling Barnett’s question “preposterous” and “deserving of a response that showed the absurdity of it all.”
“It was a preposterous question deserving of a response that showed the absurdity of it all,” a Biden campaign official said.
A top official at the Republican National Committee lambasted Biden for attacking a black reporter by making “offensive comments” because of the questions he asked the former vice president.
“Not only did Biden completely flip-flop on his previous claim that he took a cognitive test, he attacked a Black reporter, asking him if he was a cocaine ‘junkie.’ This is not Joe Biden’s first insensitive and bigoted comment about the Black community, RNC’s senior adviser for Black media affairs, Paris Dennard said in a statement. “The Joe Biden’s campaign strategy to keeps him quarantined in his basement is to keep him from offending more people.”
Trump and his campaign have emphasized Biden’s blunders and verbal gaffes as evidence of cognitive decline and mentally unfit to serve in the presidency. Last month in an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Trump challenged Biden to take the test so they can compare the results between the two.
“Honestly, he should take the test,” Trump said. “In a way, he has an obligation to, because you have to be able to show this country that the person that we’re picking as leader is sharp. Because we’re dealing with people that want to do very bad things to us.”
This is the first time Biden lashed out on reporters when questioned whether he had taken the cognitive test. During a press conference in late June after three months hiding from reporters, Biden was asked if he has been tested for cognitive decline. The former Vice President interrupted the reporter before he even finished the question, shouting “you’re a lying dog face.” He then pivoted from answering the question and instead claimed he was “constantly tested” by the demands of the campaign trail.
“All you’ve got to do is watch me,” Biden responded. “And I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against.”
During the exchange with Barnett, Biden shut down allegations that he would use the pandemic to avoid debating Trump, saying he is eager to debate the president next month.
“I’m so forward-looking to have an opportunity to sit with the president or stand with the president and the debates,” Biden said. “I am very willing to let the American public judge my physical and mental fitness and to make a judgment about who I am and what state of affairs I have.”
Biden and Trump will face off for the first presidential debate on September.29.