Trump Continues to Mock Biden’s Stutter, Further Tarnishing His Record

Several weeks ago, during his campaign activities in Iowa, Donald Trump did not hold back in his criticisms of President Joe Biden. Among his various attacks, one particularly stood out for its insensitivity: Trump decided it was fitting to target Biden’s childhood speech impediment.

Merely hours following Biden’s speech commemorating the January 6th attack, Trump addressed his followers, mockingly commenting, “Did you catch that? He stumbled through the entire speech. He accuses me of being a threat to democracy, saying, ‘He’s a threat to d-d-democracy.'”

This mockery was not only in poor taste but also inaccurate. At no point during Biden’s speech on January 6th did he falter on the word “democracy.”

However, Trump’s mockery seemed to amuse some of his supporters, encouraging him to repeat this line of attack in subsequent days. According to The Washington Post, Trump ridiculed Biden’s speech impediment again during a campaign rally in Rome, Georgia. He sarcastically questioned if Biden could “bring the country t-t-t-together,” referring to Biden’s State of the Union address.

Footage from the event revealed that this remark also elicited laughter from the audience in Georgia.

It’s important to note, Biden did not actually struggle with the word “together” during his national address. Yet, this detail seems minor in the grand scheme of things.

At this point, reporting on such behavior might seem redundant. The narrative of “Trump as a crass individual lacking in character” has been a familiar one for years, with few disputing his absence of honor or dignity. Moreover, Trump’s penchant for offensive rhetoric, which he appears to relish sharing with his unsuspecting followers, is hardly news.

Yet, this particular attack on Biden is notable for several reasons.

Firstly, it highlights Trump’s deeply problematic relationship with basic human decency, especially concerning individuals with disabilities.

For instance, in 2015, after receiving mild criticism from the late conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who was a wheelchair user, Trump insulted him by saying he was “a guy that can’t buy a pair of pants.” The following year, Trump mocked New York Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski’s disability. While in office, Trump reportedly expressed a desire to avoid being seen with disabled military veterans, according to his own White House chief of staff. After his presidency, Trump publicly ridiculed the late Sen. John McCain’s war injuries. Now, he targets Biden’s stutter.

Seeing the former president attack perceived adversaries is one thing, but witnessing his disdain for individuals with disabilities reveals a disturbing lack of empathy.

Another aspect worth considering is Trump’s audience’s reaction.

John Hendrickson, a writer for The Atlantic and someone who has dealt with stuttering throughout his life, pointed out that the laughter of Trump’s supporters is particularly striking. This laughter is a fundamental element of Trumpism, where the leader encourages his followers to embrace their worst impulses.

If Trump’s supporters showed disgust at his mockery of individuals with disabilities, he might refrain from such comments. However, like a bully encouraged by his peers, Trump continues to mock those with disabilities for the cheap laughs it brings him.

This cycle of offensive rhetoric, met with approval, leading to more of the same, is why we are likely to hear more of Trump’s comments about Biden and stuttering. It’s a cycle that not only reflects poorly on Trump but also on those who support and encourage such behavior.