Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE sparked pushback when he suggested at a fundraiser for his presidential campaign that homophobic comments were not considered offensive in Seattle as recently as five years ago.
The former vice president's claim was immediately rebuffed by members of an otherwise friendly audience at the home of a Democratic donor in the city Saturday evening.
Trying to show how far LGBTQ rights have come in recent years, Biden claimed if someone at a business meeting in Seattle only five years ago “made fun of a gay waiter,” people would just let it go, according to a reporter traveling with him.
That comment fell flat with the crowd, which numbered around 50 people.
The audience vocally pushed back, saying “Not in Seattle!”
Otherwise, the crowd was firmly behind Biden, interspersing his remarks at the home of public relations executive Roger Nyhus with exclamations of “Go Joe!”
Biden wore a rainbow heart sticker honoring Seattle’s Pride Weekend and lauded evolving public views of gay rights.
“The American people are so far ahead of their leaders on this issue,” he said, later adding that anyone making a homophobic comment at a business meeting in Seattle “would not be invited back” today.
Comments at fundraisers have proven dangerous for presidential candidates, including Biden, who recently was criticized for touting his collegial relationship with two segregationist Southern Democrats early in his Senate career.
At last Thursday’s Democratic debate in Miami, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris talks maternal health with Olympian Allyson Felix CDFIs have proven they're the right tool to help small business, let's give them what they need to do the job The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE (D-Calif.), who is African-American, said Biden’s comments about his relationship with segregationist Sens. John Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) were hurtful.
Biden made those comments before a 100-person crowd in New York earlier this month.