The White House has altered the transcript of a speech Joe Biden delivered in Maryland to remove his suggestion that black people, Hispanics and veterans were unlikely to have high school diplomas.
The gaffe-prone president was speaking about the economy on Thursday at Prince George’s Community College in Largo.
Biden said he was proud of making big corporations pay their fair share of tax, and touted his success in creating 13 million jobs.
But during his speech he also made a major slip-up and implied that minorities and veterans were uneducated.
‘We’ve seen record lows in unemployment particularly — and I’ve focused on this my whole career — particularly for African Americans and Hispanic workers and veterans, you know, the workers without high school diplomas,’ he said.
Joe Biden on Thursday told a gathering in Maryland that he had helped reduce unemployment among black people, Hispanic people and veterans – describing them as ‘the workers without high-school diplomas’
The White House, which publishes official transcripts of his speeches, including the ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’, later corrected his words, in an unusual move.
In the transcript, he is quoted as saying unemployment has been reduced ‘particularly for African Americans and Hispanic workers and veterans, you know, and the workers without high-school diplomas.’
The president is well known for his slip-ups, exaggerations and embellishments of stories.
On Monday, he used the 9/11 anniversary to claim he recalled ‘standing there the next day and looking at the building’ in New York – when, in fact, he was in Washington, DC, on September 12, 2001.
‘Some have said yesterday and today all has changed for America,’ the then-senator from Delaware said from the floor of the Senate, the day after the attacks.
‘I pray that is not true. I pray that is not true…The one thing we can not allow to change are the values upon which this country is built.
‘For if that were to occur, then they would be able to declare victory, genuine victory.’
Biden also embellished on Monday his recollections of the fateful day, claiming he saw a ‘fireball’ at the Pentagon on 9/11, when in his book he describes it as ‘a brown haze of smoke.’
Joe Biden is seen on Monday, the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, speaking to troops in Anchorage, Alaska. He is the first president not to spend the anniversary at the site of one of the three plane crashes
Planes are pictured crashing into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001
Joe Biden is seen speaking to reporters outside Congress on September 11, 2001
Biden, seen on September 11, 2001, was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time of the attacks
Speaking to troops in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, en route home from the G20 summit in Vietnam, Biden told them about his memories from 22 years ago, with typical Biden exaggeration.
‘The plume of fire that shot up in the sky in Pentagon – I remember seeing as I got off the Amtrak train on my way to work in the United States Senate,’ he said.
Yet in his autobiography, he wrote that the scene was significantly less dramatic: ‘I could see a brown haze of smoke hanging in the otherwise crystal-clear sky beyond the Capitol dome.’
Biden, who at the time was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was photographed on 9/11 speaking to reporters in front of the Capitol.
In his 2007 book Promises to Keep, Biden wrote he was in Washington, DC, the day after the attack: ‘I headed back to the Capitol the next morning,’ he noted.
A Gannett News Wire report from September 12, 2001, cited by The New York Post, backed up the version in his biography, beginning: ‘Delaware Sen. Joe Biden spent Wednesday exactly where he wanted — in the U.S. Senate.’
Archived CSPAN footage also showed Biden speaking from the Senate floor on September 12, 2001, as he and 99 other Senators denounced the cowardly attacks.
The president, who joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at age 32, and became its chair in 2001, has frequently spoken about his ‘arrest’ by the South African police.
On February 11, 2020, Biden told a South Carolina audience that he had been arrested in the African nation.
‘This day, 30 years ago, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison and entered into discussions about apartheid,’ he told the crowd.
‘I had the great honor of meeting him. I had the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see him on Robben Island.’
Biden did not specify the year, but was in South Africa in 1977.
Biden is seen in December 2013 visiting a memorial to Nelson Mandela outside the South African embassy. Mandela died aged 95 on December 5, 2013
At the end of February 2020, amid intense interest over whether he was actually arrested, Biden told CNN that he was not.
‘When I said arrested, I meant I was not able to move,’ Biden said, after recounting what had happened to him.
‘Cops would not let me go with them. I wasn’t arrested, I was stopped. I was not able to move where I wanted to go.’
He did not specify whether that encounter was in Lesotho or South Africa.
Biden has a long history of exaggerating his own biography.
He claimed in January this year, while speaking to students of historically black colleges in Atlanta that he was arrested during civil rights protests – a claim for which there is no evidence.
In September 2021 he told Jewish leaders that he remembered ‘spending time at’ and ‘going to’ the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the mass murder of 11 people there in 2018: it later emerged he never visited.
The White House said he was referencing a phone call, and misspoke.