Vice President Joe Biden said on Friday that he was bewildered by GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson’s comments on homosexuality earlier this week.
“Seriously, don’t misread the political trends in history here,” Biden said in a speech before the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. “Now, every ridiculous assertion from Dr. Carson on — I mean, Jesus. God. I mean, oh God.”
Biden was reacting to Carson’s controversial comments in a Wednesday interview on CNN. In the interview, Carson said homosexuality is “absolutely” a choice and men who come out as gay in the prison system prove it.
“Because a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight. And when they come out, they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question,” Carson said.
Carson, a former neurosurgeon and conservative favourite in the 2016 race, backtracked on that argument later in the day and profusely apologised to anyone offended by them.
Biden, who says he is also mulling a run for the White House, told the Human Rights Campaign audience that the backlash against Carson shows how much progress has been made on gay rights.
“Eight, ten years ago, even two years ago, homophobic statements would have been, if not embraced, not viewed as having generated any political liability,” he said. “I mean it’s kind of hard to fathom, isn’t it? But think about the universal ridicule. That wouldn’t have happened two years ago, five years ago. It matters.”
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