President Biden displayed what some Twitter users saw as the “soft bigotry of low expectations” while appearing at Bowie State University in Maryland Monday night.
Biden appeared at the university to help campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore ahead of the midterm elections on Tuesday. With Bowie State University being a historically Black college and university (HBCU), the president took the time to highlight his administration’s efforts in promoting HBCUs.
During his comments, he told the mostly Black audience that they were “just as bright” as other American colleges despite not having the same endowments.
“Look, talking about my historic commitment to HBCUs that includes $5.8 billion I put in the budget for HBCUs. You know why? HBCUs don’t have the endowments that others have. But guess what, you’re just as smart, you’re just as bright, you’re just as good as any college in America. And that money, that money is to build laboratories and other things for the future that you need to have access to,” Biden said.
President Biden speaks at a campaign event for Gov. Kathy Hochul, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York.
(Patrick Semansky/AP Newsroom)
Many social media users criticized Biden for his comment as another example of him making a racial gaffe.
“The soft bigotry of low expectations,” Independent Women’s Voice analyst Kelsey Bolar declared.
“The way this man treats black people––like little children––is so da*n offensive. Why say this about [sic] an HBCU? Just as smart as who? What are you trying to say with this nonsense?” conservative author Jason Howerton asked.
Ricochet editor-in-chief Jon Gabriel joked, “He’s not very articulate.”
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” The “Barrington Report” host Barrington Martin tweeted.
Republican strategist Matt Wolking wrote, “Biden: ‘you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean.’”
“Presented without comment,” former Congresswoman Nan Hayworth tweeted.
President Biden and former President Obama attend a campaign event for Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro in Philadelphia on Nov. 5.
(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque TPX Images of the Day)
During the rally, Biden appeared to forget Moore’s name despite several fans holding signs for the candidate.
“And, of course, you got that next governor. What’s his name? Wes… Wes…,” Biden said. “Wes Moore! The guy’s the real deal, man.”
He continued to promote Moore and his efforts to promote HBCUs despite these awkward misstatements.
“One of the great ways to honor HBCUs is to vote,” Biden added.
President Biden poses with gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore during a campaign rally at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Biden has had a history of making comments that seemed to patronize Black voters. Most infamously, during his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden declared “I tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.” During the 2020 primary, Biden told a crowd in Iowa that “poor kids are just as bright and talented as White kids.”