The man — who identified himself only as an 83-year-old farmer — had accused Biden of being "no better" than President Trump
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday got into a heated exchange with a man in Iowa who was questioning him about his ethics, his age and his son’s business decisions.
Biden’s response was sharp and a bit sarcastic, calling the man a “damn liar” after the man repeated some baseless claims about Biden, his son and Ukraine.
And then Biden suggested he and the man have a pushup contest, after the man said he was “too old” to be president and was troubled by that and the Ukraine conspiracy theories.
The 77-year-old Biden, who is the front-runner to challenge President Donald Trump next year, reportedly got into the verbal scrap during a question-and-answer session with voters in New Hampton, Iowa.
Echoing conservative claims about the Bidens that have never been proven, the man questioned son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and said Vice President Biden had been “selling access” to then-President Barack Obama.
“You’re a damn liar, man,” Vice President Biden replied. “That’s not true. And no one has ever said that. No one has proved that.”
The man — who identified himself only as an 83-year-old farmer who preferred Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the primary, according to The New York Times — had accused Biden of being “no better” than President Trump, who is under investigation for impeachment after lobbying Ukraine to investigate the Bidens over alleged “corruption.”
Biden walked toward the man as he responded and then drily challenged him to a pushup contest to show he was “not sedentary.” (Polling shows Biden’s age is an area of concern for voters.)
“Look, the reason I’m running is because I’ve been around a long time and I know more than most people know and I can get things done. That’s why I’m running,” Biden told the man. “And you want to check my shape, man, let’s do push-ups together here, man, let’s run, let’s do whatever you want to do, let’s take an IQ test.”
“I’ve seen it on the TV,” the man said of what he was repeating about Ukraine, adding, “I didn’t say you were doing anything wrong” — before Biden sternly told him, “Get your words straight, Jack.”
Elsewhere on Thursday, Biden was endorsed by former Secretary of State John Kerry, who was the Democratic nominee in 2004 to unsuccessfully challenge President George W. Bush.
Biden is a leading candidate in the large field of Democratic politicians seeking the party’s nomination next summer. The group was further whittled down this week after three candidates, including the once hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris, dropped out.
Though there has been no evidence the Bidens did anything wrong in Ukraine, Hunter has said he showed poor judgment in taking a position with an energy company despite no specific experience in the industry.
On Thursday, reporters asked Biden about the exchange after the event, where he said he hadn’t gotten overly angry.
“I didn’t lose my temper. You want to see my temper, keep going,” Biden said, according to Politico and the Times, which was met with some laughter.
“I didn’t lose my temper,” he said. “What I wanted to do was shut this down.”
According to Politico, the Biden campaign had to clarify later that Biden had not called the man “fat” during their exchange, as it appeared, but instead said the word “facts.”