• The Trump vs Biden presidential contest is starting to take an unexpected turn, with headlines dominated in recent days about both men seeming to have insulted members of the military at various points in the past.
  • For President Trump, the issue came earlier this month, when The Atlantic ran a story based on unnamed sources alleging that Trump in the past has called service members “suckers” and “losers.”
  • On Friday, meanwhile, old video surfaced of Biden when he was still Vice President, with Biden at one point in the footage appearing to call soldiers in his audience “stupid bastards.”

Election Day 2020 is fast approaching, and the Trump vs Biden contest is entering what may be its most heated point yet. Democrats and the left in general appropriately howled earlier this month, upon publication of an article by The Atlantic quoting a number of anonymous sources who claimed that President Trump on multiple occasions has denigrated soldiers and wounded veterans, using insults like “suckers” and “losers” to describe them. We say this “appropriately” kicked up an outcry across the media, political and Internet landscape, because it’s certainly despicable if true. And among other news that came in the wake of that article’s publication, almost 500 generals, admirals and ex-national security officials who identify as both Democrats and Republicans signed on to a letter endorsing Trump’s rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, in recent days.

And then came an old video of Biden that surfaced on Friday, which caused right-wing Twitter to melt down and claim that its content is even worse than that alleged in The Atlantic article — because unlike the basis of that article, which were unnamed sources, this is Biden himself, captured on video appearing to denigrate soldiers.

You can check out the video yourself below (the moment in question starts at around the 6:05 mark). It’s from a 2016 appearance when Biden was still the Vice President, during remarks he made to soldiers on a visit to the United Arab Emirates. At one point, Biden makes a point and then demands, “Clap for that, you stupid bastards.”

He gets the applause, but then can be heard lamenting that these soldiers are apparently a “dull bunch.”

One of President Trump’s children, Eric Trump, shared a snippet of the video above on his Twitter account, ensuring it got widespread attention:

Biden supporters on Twitter quickly weighed in and expressed skepticism when this news first broke, suspecting that the video was possibly faked to some degree. However, the Biden campaign itself on Friday confirmed its authenticity and provided a statement about it to The Daily Beast, attempting to pass it off as jokey comments meant to show the Vice President’s support for a particular female service member.

“Vice President Biden was jokingly encouraging the audience to clap for an airwoman on the stage, and a number of service members can be seen laughing and smiling at the comment,” Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates told The Daily Beast. “Seconds before, he praised them for ‘the incredible sacrifices (they) make for our country.'”

Bates’ statement continues: “(Biden) thanked them for their patriotism and courage throughout, and closed his remarks by saying, ‘You’re the finest generation of warriors the world has ever, ever known’ — receiving an enthusiastic ovation.”

Left out of Bates’ defense of Biden’s remarks, of course, is whether the campaign would have pounced, and how hard, if video had instead surfaced of President Trump seeming to call soldiers “stupid bastards,” even as a joke.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.