Joe Biden just can’t seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. Whether it was accidental or on purpose, the former vice president’s attempt at using a pun to condemn domestic violence against women took an ugly turn during Wednesday night’s fifth Democratic presidential debate.
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During the debate, Biden was asked how he would address the issue of sexual violence. He started by saying the first thing he would do is pass the Violence Against Women Act, which he sponsored, and mentioned his own involvement in confronting abuse and violence against young women in college.
In 2014, former President Barack Obama and Biden launched the #ItsOnUs initiative through the White House Task Force to Prevent Sexual Assault. The mission was dedicated to eliminating sexual assault on college campuses as well as changing the culture, according to the movement’s website.
His response started out strong: “We, in fact, have to fundamentally change the culture, the culture of how women are treated … No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman in anger other than in self-defense, and that rarely ever occurs.
“So we just have to just change the culture, period, and keep punching at it and punching at it and punching at it,” he said as the audience started to laugh uneasily. “No, I really mean it. It’s a gigantic issue, and we have to make it clear from the top, from the president on down, that we will not tolerate it. We will not tolerate this culture.”
It’s not clear if Biden was being obtuse as he forged on about the issue of domestic violence.
People following the debate on Twitter weighed in on the uncomfortable moment.
Uncle Joe’s answer to men hitting women…..”keep punching and punching at it.”
Yes,he really said that…….
— William Breland (@PTGOLF_PRO) November 21, 2019
Me when I hear Joe Biden repeat “keep punching at it” three times when talking about violence against women. #DemocraticDebate pic.twitter.com/va7nKnEymT
— Dylan (@DylanGrant91) November 21, 2019
“How do we stop domestic violence in America?”
Joe Biden “ we gotta keep punching at it”
— THE Bryan Johnson (@_KingJohnson24) November 21, 2019