Detroit — Joe Biden had a heated exchange with a construction worker who accused him of trying to take Americans’ guns away during a campaign stop in Michigan, one of six states holding primaries on Tuesday.
The former vice president was touring an assembly plant under construction for Fiat Chrysler, shaking hands with and praising the electrical workers union members who are building the plant. As Biden was working the room, one man confronted him about his stance on gun ownership.
“You are actively trying to end our Second Amendment right and take away our guns,” the worker told Biden.
Biden replied: “You’re full of sh**.”
“I support the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment — just like right now, if you yelled ‘fire,’ that’s not free speech,” Biden continued. “And from the very beginning — I have a shotgun, I have a 20-gauge, a 12-gauge. My sons hunt. Guess what? You’re not allowed to own any weapon. I’m not taking your gun away at all.”
The man repeated his accusation that Biden was “trying to take our guns,” and Biden pushed back. “I did not say that. I did not say that.”
After the worker told him that he had made the remark in “a viral video,” the former vice president replied that “it’s a viral video like the other ones they’re putting out that are simply a lie.”
“This is not OK, alright?” the man said, to which Biden replied, “Don’t tell me that, pal, or I’m going to go out and slap you in the face.”
“You’re working for me, man!” the worker said.
“I’m not working for you,” Biden said. “Don’t be such a horse’s ass.”
The viral video the man mentioned appears to be a clip that has been inaccurately characterized by guns-rights groups and on social media in recent days. The clip was taken from a livestream by Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman and presidential candidate who endorsed Biden last week. The video shows Biden in a restaurant with O’Rourke and Amy Sanders O’Rourke, his wife. Biden looks into the camera and praises O’Rourke for his stance on gun control and climate change, and says he will recruit him to work in his administration if elected.
“And by the way, this guy can change the face of what we’re dealing with, with regard to guns, assault weapons, with regard to dealing with climate change, and I just want — I’m warning Amy, if I win, I’m coming for him,” Biden says in the video. The quote has been widely misconstrued to claim Biden said, “I’m coming for them.”
Tuesday’s remarkably candid exchange in Detroit comes just a few hours before Biden is scheduled to meet with the leaders of gun control organizations at a stop in Columbus, Ohio.
Before the argument, Biden was greeted by hundreds of hooting-and-hollering IBEW members excited to meet the Democratic frontrunner.
“You’re the best damn workers in the world,” Biden said. “I promise you if I become your president you will never have a better friend in the White House. I’m union from, as my — I won’t say what my grandfather used to say — but from belt buckle to shoe sole, man.”