The most memorable political gaffes of 2020

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Between a presidential election and a worldwide pandemic, 2020 was one of the most tense years in recent memory, but there was plenty of comic relief as the public laughed either with or at political figures after notable gaffes.

Democrats and Republicans alike were responsible for some truly cringe-worthy moments. Here is a look back at some of the most memorable.

Presidential race

President-elect Joe Biden was a gaffe machine this year, as he mistakenly said he was running for Senate and erroneously claimed that 200 million people — roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population — died from COVID-19.

Biden’s biggest gaffe of the year, however, was likely a remark he made on the radio program “The Breakfast Club.” After host Charlamagne tha God, who is Black, asked Biden to come back on the program again and the former vice president agreed, the host added, “It’s a long way to November. We’ve got more questions.”

Biden then made a bold declaration about his connection with Black community.

“I tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black,” he said.

The moment reverberated on social media, with the host retweeting a variety of listeners complaining about it. Biden “should never say to a black man ‘You aint black’ under ANY circumstances,” one wrote.

Yo, Semite!

President Trump had a bizarre gaffe when he was delivering remarks at a ceremony for the signing of a conservation bill. When discussing the nation’s parks, he mispronounced Yosemite multiple times, saying something that sounded like “Yo Semite.” 

Members of the media were all over the president for the mispronunciation, which made it seem like he was casually greeting Jewish people.

“Potus pronounces Yosemites as ‘yo-Semites’ at White House event,” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted, prompting ABC’s Will Steakin to claim that if Biden had been the one to make that error, Trump’s team “would be selling ‘Yo, Semites’ shirts” by now.

Tupac Lives?

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris whiffed on a simple question about her musical taste in September, when CNN’s Angela Rye asked her who she thought was the greatest living rapper.

“Tupac,” Harris said after a brief pause. 

Her answer caused quite a stir, given that Tupac Shakur had been dead for 24 years, 

“He’s not alive!” Rye responded. Harris laughed and claimed, “I keep doing that.” When asked again to name a living rapper, Harris failed to name anyone.

Conspiracy theories about Shakur faking his own death have popped up ever since the legendary hip-hop artist was gunned down in September 1996. A filmmaker is even making a movie about Tupac escaping the hospital and living among the Navajo tribe in New Mexico.

Sunday morning confusion

A September interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on ABC’s “This Week” went slightly off the rails when host George Stephanopoulos asked her about possible Democratic responses to Republicans confirming Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court Justice.

Pelosi stared at the camera for a moment and then seemed to reset the conversation.

“Good morning. Sunday morning,” she said calmly, as Stephanopoulos looked on. She then got back on track, saying that she and her colleagues “take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“God’s waiting room”

In April, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis boasted that his state was doing better than expected. When putting the state’s nursing home casualty numbers in perspective, he made a questionable word choice when pointing to the state’s large number of elderly residents.

“Florida is ground zero for the nursing home, we’re God’s waiting room,” DeSantis said at a press conference. “We have a huge number of facilities, a huge number of residents.”


Democrats were quick to jump all over DeSantis for the remark.

State Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo told DeSantis a statement that “this isn’t a time to do stand-up, it’s a time to stand up and lead.”

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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