Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden got into a heated exchange with a plant worker during a stop at a Detroit auto plant on Tuesday morning.
Walking through the crowd of hardhat donning employees while shaking hands and smiling for photos, Biden stopped abruptly to have a brief but tense and unpleasant encounter with one worker who wanted to discuss guns. The man questioned why Biden wanted to take his Second Amendment rights away which caused him to become immediately enraged as he began to shove his finger in the auto plant worker's face.
The former vice president could be heard shouting at the man over the noise of the large crowd that he would "take the AR-14s away," before trying to move on quickly. Biden then threatened to slap the man in the face and called him a "horse's ass." A campaign worker attempted to diffuse the situation by shouting "Thank you!" repeatedly but Biden dug in.
Many on the internet were quick to point out that Biden's use of "AR-14," was a testament to the fact that he was not knowledgable about guns, since the heated political debate over guns he appeared to be citing applied to AR-15s.
Today Joe Biden argued with a voter, called the AR-15 an "AR-14" and then threatened to slap the voter in the face. This is an old man losing control of his mind. At what point do Democrats realize what a giant mistake they’ve made backing senile Joe? pic.twitter.com/PBj3fuKEAu— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) March 10, 2020
Biden's campaign stop in Michigan comes on a crucial day for his campaign for the Democratic nomination as residents of the state head to the polls to choose their nominee. Sanders narrowly won the state in his 2016 contest against Hillary Clinton but Michigan ultimately chose Donald Trump for president in the General Election.
Though Biden, 78, is currently leading the delegate count against socialist contender Bernie Sanders (I-VT) after taking 10 states during last week's Super Tuesday voting, Michigan offers a crucial 125 delegates that could change the tide, should he lose to Sanders.
Biden's run-ins with potential voters challenging him on issues is not uncommon. He made headlines last year after he appeared to challenge a potential voter's physical appearance. The man had questioned Biden about his son Hunter's dealings with Ukrainian Energy firm, Burisma, before being cut off by the Democratic candidate. It became clear that Biden was challenging the man's portly stature after suggesting he watched too much TV. Biden first called the man a "damn liar," and eventually said, "look, fat," while trying to end the line of questioning.
Another instance in his campaign showed the candidate sour on a reporter who asked him about why he attacked Sen. Bernie Sanders during a recent debate. "Why, why, why, why, why, why, why?" Biden snapped angrily at CBS's Ed O'Keefe before telling him, "You're getting nervous, man. Calm down."
Biden's sometimes volatile demeanor runs in contrast to the persona offered by himself and his campaign as a friendly everyman, often referred to as "Uncle Joe." He has also faced criticism for multiple speaking gaffes made along the campaign trail and telling stories from his past as vice president and senator that run in direct contrast of the facts.
In addition to Michigan, voters will choose between Biden, Sanders, and long shot Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii in Washington, Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota, and Missouri. Following Super Tuesday, today's voting represents the largest primary day on the calendar.