Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden reportedly misstepped with a “gay waiter” comment during a private fundraising event in Seattle on Saturday.
Biden was delivering a speech at the residence of public relations executive Roger Nyhus in Seattle to a group of major donors, CNN reported. He reportedly suggested that if someone “made fun of a gay waiter” five years ago, people would just let it go, according to a press pool of the event.
His campaign’s deputy press secretary Matt Hill said Biden was “making the point that there is much more work to be done.”
“The LGBTQ community has made significant progress, but @JoeBiden is making the point that there is much more work to be done. Suggesting the LGBTQ community didn’t face discrimination five years ago or even today is just not accurate,” Hill said.
Biden reportedly continued to say that if someone made similar homophobic comments today, “that person would not be invited back.”
A vocal response came from the crowd, including an audience member saying “Not in Seattle,” according to the pool.
Nyhus is a popular advocate for LGBTQ rights in Seattle.
“Think of the incredible, physical, moral courage it took to stand up and fight back,” Biden also said, referring to his recent visit to the location of the Stonewall riots, CNN reported.
Following a debate performance that drew criticism Thursday night, the former vice president has shown signs of struggling to fit into the 2020 Democratic primary field, where many of the candidates are discernibly to the left of his platform.