Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE faced questions over his record on LGBT rights during a forum in Iowa on Friday, with the former vice president having a tense exchange with a questioner.
Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Lyz Lenz tweeted Friday night that Biden dryly called her a “real sweetheart” in private after the two shared an onstage exchange over Biden’s support for the Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
As I was walking off the stage with @JoeBiden he said to me dryly, “You’re a real sweetheart.” #LGBTQforum
— Lyz a real sweetheart (@lyzl) September 21, 2019
“In 1994, you did vote for ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and in 1996, you voted for the Defense of Marriage Act,” Lenz said. “You did vote to repeal both of those, but you have also praised Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence posts, deletes photo of Trump campaign staff without face masks, not social distancing Pence threatens to deploy military if Pennsylvania governor doesn’t quell looting Pence on Floyd: ‘No tolerance for racism’ in US MORE as a ‘decent guy.'”
After the audience interjected with boos following the mention of Pence’s name, Biden responded, “You’re a lovely person.”
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“Just asking the questions people want to know,” Lenz replied.
An attention grabbing moment from Biden’s time on stage when moderator @lyzl pushed Biden on past votes and calling @VP a “decent guy.”
“You’re a lovely person,” Biden tells the moderator to laugher.
“Just asking the questions people want to know,” she replied pic.twitter.com/DB10NGuBCP
— Molly Nagle (@MollyNagle3) September 21, 2019
“I interpreted it as a little condescending,” Lenz said afterward, according to The New York Times.
The exchange sparked some criticism on social media, with writer Anand Giridharadas calling it an example of “sexism with a smile.”
“Watch him grow angry at @lyzl’s solid question — and then try to slap her down in the most patronizing way,” Giridharadas tweeted.
Last week, Joe Biden gave us an occasion to talk about “racism with a smile.”
Now he’s doing “sexism with a smile.”
Watch him grow angry at @lyzl’s solid question — and then try to slap her down in the most patronizing way:
“You’re a lovely person.” pic.twitter.com/VPINKZd6qN
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) September 21, 2019
Biden has faced criticism in recent weeks for remarks about race as well as his past positions on racial issues, including his work with segregationist senators to oppose busing at the federal level.