Former Vice President Joe Biden came under fire for calling current Vice President Mike Pence a ‘decent guy’ while speaking at the Chuck Hagel Forum in Global Leadership at the University of Nebraska at Omaha on Thursday.
The comment was especially stunning for those familiar with Pence’s lengthy history of anti-LGBTQ policies and positions.
The comment came as Biden brought up Pence’s recent speech at the Munich Security Conference last month. During the speech, Pence mentioned greetings from President Trump to the audience which was met with stark silence.
“The fact of the matter is it was followed on by a guy who’s a decent guy, our vice president, who stood before this group of allies and leaders and said, ‘I’m here on behalf of President Trump,’ and there was dead silence. Dead silence,” Biden told the Nebraska audience on Thursday.
Reid Epstein, political reporter for the Wall Street Journal, tweeted the comment:
In Omaha, Joe Biden calls Mike Pence "a decent guy, our vice president."
— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) February 28, 2019
Sex In The City star Cynthia Nixon called Biden out on Twitter, writing, “You’ve just called America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader ‘a decent guy.’ Please consider how this falls on the ears of our community.”
.@JoeBiden you’ve just called America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader “a decent guy.”
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) February 28, 2019
Biden responded to Nixon’s tweet less than an hour later admitting the misstep: “You’re right, Cynthia. I was making a point in a foreign policy context, that under normal circumstances a Vice President wouldn’t be given a silent reaction on the world stage. But there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.”
You’re right, Cynthia. I was making a point in a foreign policy context, that under normal circumstances a Vice President wouldn’t be given a silent reaction on the world stage.
But there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 28, 2019
Biden’s comment got many in the Twitterverse upset:
Mike Pence believes in gay conversion therapy and allowed an HIV outbreak to happen in Indiana. No, Joe Biden, Pence is not a decent guy. He’s scum. https://t.co/QAHQQ6Nurp
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) February 28, 2019
Calling Mike Pence "a decent guy" may be the dumbest thing that Joe Biden has ever said, which is really saying something.
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 28, 2019
I accidentally deleted my tweet about joe Biden and Mike Pence, but let me be clear.
Mike Pence is an asshole.
So to all you conservatives swinging from your branches into my mentions to stan for a dude who wants to electrocute the gay out of people: Go fuck yourselves.
— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) March 1, 2019
Joe Biden what the entire fuck…
Mike Pence is a decent man? The same racist, sexist and probably the most anti LGBT supporter with legislative power….. that guy is fucking decent?
Yeah this is why Biden didn't make it out of Iowa in 1988 and 2008.
— Mr. Weeks (@MrDane1982) March 1, 2019
But Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson points out even openly gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg has referred to Pence in positive terms:
To everyone mad at Joe Biden, know who called Mike Pence a "super-nice guy" two years ago?
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) March 1, 2019
Biden’s comment seems like a conventional “my opponents aren’t evil, just wrong” sally. Obama (and most candidates for prez) said the same many times.
It’s an old political ritual that a Twitterized primary may reject. https://t.co/HSTc0UAdQ6
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) March 1, 2019
As The Washington Post points out, Joe Biden has been a longtime ally to the LGBTQ community.
He famously came out in support of marriage equality even before his boss, Barack Obama, did.
And he recently spoke at the national Human Rights Campaign dinner.
For this writer, I think the comment comes across as Biden just being affable in referring to Pence. I don’t think it was a full-on testimonial about Pence’s character.
What do you think, readers?