President Joe Biden repeated the same story twice at a Wednesday night fundraiser in New York City, where cameras were not present in the room, but a small pool of journalists was covering the event. During the fundraiser, Biden talked about how the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, and former President Donald Trump’s reaction to it, inspired him to run for the White House in the 2020 election cycle. He repeated the story nearly word-for-word a few minutes later.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed this during a press briefing, saying that Biden was “speaking from his heart” and emphasizing the emotional aspect of his decision to run for president. She noted that the president was speaking at a fundraiser, and it was a passionate topic for him. She mentioned that Biden went through a difficult time, losing his son Beau to brain cancer, which influenced his decision.
Biden has stated multiple times that Trump’s comments about “very fine people” in Charlottesville encouraged him to re-enter politics. Heather Heyer, a counter-protester, was killed during the violent events in Charlottesville when a white nationalist drove a car into a crowd.
Reporters asked Jean-Pierre about the repetition of the story, with one journalist noting that Biden told the story almost word-for-word twice during the event. Jean-Pierre responded that she needed to be cautious about discussing a campaign fundraiser, potentially violating the Hatch Act. However, she reiterated that Biden’s passion for addressing the events in Charlottesville and his belief in moving the country forward were significant factors in his decision to run for president.