Speaking to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden recalled growing up in the state, at one point talking about being a lifeguard with “black athletes.”
“When I started off as a kid getting involved, I had a job with a nice country club kind of pool as a lifeguard. I wanted to work on the east side because I knew, I played ball with a lot of great black athletes but, you know, I didn’t know them,” he said. “I mean, we knew each other, they were friends, but I didn’t know them, and it was a great education.”
Biden then appeared to compare those friendships to 1999’s ‘The Green Mile,’ a film based on a Stephen King novel about a black man on death row who befriends a prison guard, played in the film by Tom Hanks.
“It was like ‘The Green Mile,’ you know. Have you seen the movie?” Biden asked. “Well, it’s like that.”
Biden continued with the comparison and insisted he wasn’t being “melodramatic.”
“You began to, when you realize that the people I’d known for a long time, that, you know, they lived in the middle of a city and a county that was white and they didn’t know anybody. I mean, they knew, but they didn’t know anybody, and it was a real education for me,” he said.
“I’m not being melodramatic. I mean, it really was,” the former vice president added.
Biden: "I had a job with a nice country club kind of pool as a lifeguard .. I played ball with a lot of great black athletes but I didn’t know them. I mean, we knew each other. They were friends. But I didn’t know them. And it was a great education. It was like the Green Mile." pic.twitter.com/l5CeRN9Lue
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 3, 2020
The comment has mostly led to confusion among critics on social media.
“Please make it stop…this is elder abuse,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.
“Translation? Anybody speak Biden?” actor James Woods wrote.
“Please someone who is a Democrat realize how idiotic this statement is. Biden said a country club pool was like ‘The Green Mile,’” producer Kyle Becker added.
Joe cannot stick the landing on any of his stories anymore. He loses his train of thought halfway through. https://t.co/cPSqtnH4C8
— Brian Doherty (@BDOH) November 3, 2020
Some have seemingly defended the gaffe from Biden, suggesting he may have actually meant to refer to the 2018 movie ‘Green Book,’ a film about a friendship between a black musician and his driver in the ‘60s. That film won the Best Picture Academy Award, but was widely slammed by liberal critics for being a simplified and whitewashed look at race.
The only similarity between the two films, besides the word ‘Green’ being in the title, is that both include black and white friendships set against turbulent times for black rights.
Biden on #CNN obviously meaning Green Book but came out as a reference to 'The Green Mile'. Joe just hurry up and go home it's going to be a long night.
— Daniel Carry (@Danielpcarry) November 3, 2020
Joe Biden bizarrely compares knowing black people to The Green Mile. I certainly hope he meant Green Book. https://t.co/fNME3ARXzA
— Eldritch Love (@Eldritchlove) November 3, 2020
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