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Joe Biden confuses Andrew Johnson with Andrew Jackson in Iowa

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 11/2/2019 Naomi Lim
Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.

DES MOINES, Iowa —⁠ Joe Biden confused former Presidents Andrew Johnson and Andrew Jackson during a detour from his stump speech at the Democratic Party's fall fundraiser in Iowa.

"Look what happened in Charlottesville," the former vice president said in Des Moines on Friday, referring to President Trump. "He said there were very fine people on both sides. No president, no president has ever said that, including Andrew Johnson before the Civil War."

Biden, Delaware's senator for 36 years, often cites the fatal riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, as his impetus to run for the White House a third time. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in 2017 when a white supremacist, who was in town for a Unite the Right rally, drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

Andrew Johnson, however, served as President Abraham Lincoln's vice president for his second term, ascending to power in 1865 after Lincoln's assassination as the Civil War concluded. Johnson was impeached for dismissing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton against the wishes of the Senate and for his reticence to protect former slaves. Nevertheless, it was Andrew Jackson who held the office before the Civil War. Some historians criticize Jackson, who was president from 1829 to 1837, for removing Native Americans from their tribal lands.

A guide to the Democratic contenders who want to face Trump

Comparing Trump to Andrew Jackson has been one of Biden's recurring tropes. In the wake of the El Paso shootings in August, Biden said, "Look, this is a president who has said things no other president has said since Andrew Jackson. Nobody said anything like the things he’s saying. And the idea that it doesn't contribute to or legitimate or make it more rational for people to think that we, in fact, can now speak out, we can speak out and be more straightforward and we can make this an issue, we’ve been through this before."

Biden addressed the Iowa Democratic Party's Liberty and Justice Celebration as part of a four-day swing through the first-in-the-nation state as he vies for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Polling released this week by New York Times/Siena College showed he was in fourth place in the state behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

On Wednesday in Maquoketa, Iowa, the two-term vice president said he wished one of his three adult children had been Republican because then "they’d make some real money."

Joe Biden and his first wife, the late Neilia Biden, had two sons. Their second son, Hunter Biden, 49, earned $50,000 a month on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company at the same time his father played a lead role in the Obama administration's Ukraine policy. The position is a central part of Trump's impeachment inquiry after allegations the president pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Biden family.

Joe Biden's first marriage bore another son, Beau Biden, who was a Delaware state attorney general and Iraq War veteran before he died in 2015 at the age of 46 from an aggressive form of brain cancer. Joe Biden and second wife Jill Biden, 68, also have a daughter. Ashley Biden, 38, a trained social worker, left her job at the Delaware Center for Justice shortly before her father announced his presidential run.


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