Joe Biden bought into a heated exchange with an Iowa man who asked him about his son’s dealings in Ukraine and advised the 77-year-old former vice president was too old to lead the country.
Merle Gorman, who later informed reporters he was a retired farmer who considers himself an independent voter, suggested Thursday at a town hall that Mr. Biden helped his son, Hunter, secure a lucrative seat on the board of an organization in Ukraine while his father was vice president. Hunter Biden has said they solely mentioned his work in Ukraine once, which Joe Biden reiterated Thursday.
“Everyone knows Trump has been messing round with Ukraine over there,” Mr. Gorman stated on the campaign occasion. “You on the other hand, sent your son over there.”
After a pair more temporary exchanges, Mr. Biden’s temper flared.
“You’re a damn liar, man, that’s not true and nobody has ever stated that,” Mr. Biden stated.
“Nobody has stated my son has accomplished something wrong,” he added.
Mr. Gorman interjected that he hadn’t instructed that Mr. Biden had finished something wrong.
“You stated I set up my son to work in an oil firm, isn’t that what you stated?” Mr. Biden stated. “Get your words straight, Jack.”
The House is conducting an impeachment inquiry centered on whether President Trump improperly pushed Ukrainian leaders to investigate the Biden family’s actions in that nation and whether the president held up army aid to Kyiv in trade for the probes. Mr. Biden has stated he and his son did nothing wrong.
The exchange Thursday began with Mr. Gorman telling Mr. Biden that he believes his personal “mental faculties” have declined, implying that the previous vice president is just too old to lead the country.
“The reason I’m running is because I’ve been round a long time and know more than most people know, and I can get things accomplished,” Mr. Biden responded, including that he could be happy to show his physical strength.
“Let’s do push-ups together, man,” he stated. “Let’s run. Let’s do whatever you need to do.”
After Mr. Biden stated he didn’t need to get into an argument, Mr. Gorman shot back that Mr. Biden doesn’t have “any more spine than Trump does,” drawing boos from the audience.
“I’m not voting for you,” Mr. Gorman stated.
“I knew you weren’t,” Mr. Biden stated. “You’re too old to vote for me.”
Talking later to reporters, Mr. Gorman, a registered Democrat, declined to provide his age, although Iowa voter data indicated he was 83.
He stated he was unlikely to vote in Iowa’s Democratic caucuses Feb. 3 however will vote in the general election for whomever the party nominates. He stated he hoped it was Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota or Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.
“He simply wants to deny, deny, deny,” Mr. Gorman stated of Mr. Biden’s answers to his questions, calling him a “skilled politician all his life.”
Mr. Biden later informed reporters that he wasn’t offended throughout the exchange.
“I didn’t lose my temper,” he stated. “What I wished to do is shut this down.”
Mr. Biden additionally stated he wasn’t serious when he stated the other man was too old to vote for him. “I was kidding him,” he stated.
The former vice president stated his family’s role in the impeachment inquiry hadn’t been a distraction for his presidential campaign.
“I really feel confident about this entire investigation that’s happening of Trump,” he stated. “Nobody’s indicated anything, other than arguing about appearance, that I did something to deal with my son getting a job, or had the job, or knew he had the job.”