While Today co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie invited former Vice President Joe Biden to bash President Trump for using heated rhetoric, their colleague Megyn Kelly actually demanded the Democrat answer for his own offensive language while in office. She pressed him on his “divisive” remarks over the years and pointed out that “both sides” were guilty of nasty attacks.

Talking to the former VP on her 9 a.m. ET hour talk show, Kelly wondered: “There’s no question that Donald Trump’s language has been dicey and controversial. But you got hit while in office for some controversial language, including ‘barbarians at the gate,’ when talking about Republicans.”

 

 

Biden attempted to deny saying that about his political opponents: “No, I wasn’t talking about Republicans.” Kelly called him out: “Well, you said they – when you were talking about labor unions and those who opposed them.” She then pointed to an even more outrageous comment: “…you also said that ‘They want to put you all back in chains,’ speaking about Romney and Republicans.”

The host concluded: “And people said that’s divisive. Any regrets about the language you used?”

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While Biden said he did “regret occasionally using profanity,” he showed no remorse for the rhetoric Kelly had pointed out and lamely attempted to justify it: “No, I would say those things again. It’s different than calling my opponent a little person. It’s different than calling my opponent – you know, talking about the physical characteristics. It’s different than all of the stuff your mother would wash your mouth out for.”

Lecturing moments later that he was opposed to questioning anyone’s “motive,” Kelly interrupted: “But you don’t cop to, you know, President Obama doing that occasionally, too?” Biden laughably claimed: “I have never attacked someone’s motive. Go back and look.”

Saying Republicans wanted to enslave African-Americans was not questioning their motive?!

Kelly pushed back: “I’m talking about President Obama. You know both sides do this to each other. It’s not like the Democrats are without sin.” Biden replied: “No, I’m not saying they are.” Kelly continued: “I mean, Hillary Clinton was out there calling them a basket full of deplorables, which a lot of people think cost her the election.”

Biden claimed: “Well look, I’m speaking for myself and what I think has to change.”

Here is a transcript of the November 13 exchange:

9:37 AM ET

(…)

MEGYN KELLY: On the question of language. There’s no question that Donald Trump’s language has been dicey and controversial. But you got hit while in office for some controversial language, including “barbarians at the gate,” when talking about Republicans. “They want to put you all back – ”

JOE BIDEN: No, I wasn’t talking about Republicans.

KELLY: Well, you said they – when you were talking about labor unions and those who opposed them. You said – you also said that “They want to put you all back in chains,” speaking about Romney and Republicans. And people said that’s divisive. Any regrets about the language you used?

BIDEN: Well, I regret occasionally using profanity. That’s what I regret.

[LAUGHTER]

No, I really do, and it’s inappropriate. But the context of each of those things that I talked about were that there is a wholesale assault on the idea that people have – look, there used to be a basic bargain in the country – when in fact you contributed to the well-being of the enterprise you were part of you got to share in the benefits. That’s been lost.

KELLY: It’s not the principle, it’s the rhetoric that we’re talking about now.

BIDEN: No, I would say those things again. It’s different than calling my opponent a little person. It’s different than calling my opponent – you know, talking about the physical characteristics. It’s different than all of the stuff your mother would wash your mouth out for. And I think what you saw – anyway, we’ll see.

But look, I’m a big fan of a conservative columnist, David Brooks. And he wrote a really interesting piece about that invisible moral fabric that holds up all of our institutions. And it anticipates a citizen that is prepared to work on common issues and common values. And there’s certain things that just are the elements of what keeps our society civil. And I just think we’re, across the board, that’s – look, if you attack somebody today, you usually go after their motive, instead of their substance. I learned a long time ago, it’s always appropriate to disagree and –

KELLY: But you don’t cop to, you know, President Obama doing that occasionally, too?

BIDEN: I have never attacked someone’s motive. Go back and look.

KELLY: I’m talking about President Obama. You know both sides do this to each other. It’s not like the Democrats are without sin.

BIDEN: No, I’m not saying they are.

KELLY: I mean, Hillary Clinton was out there calling them a basket full of deplorables, which a lot of people think cost her the election.

BIDEN: Well look, I’m speaking for myself and what I think has to change. And what has to change is the way we conduct our – our political rhetoric. And it really – and our children are listening. And, I mean, the idea of not condemning unequivocally hate when it appears, when it rears its ugly head. The idea that – I mean, did you ever think you’d see people marching in Charlotte carrying Nazi flags saying the exact same anti-Semitic bile that – I mean, why is it hard to say that was simply, absolutely abhorrent? That’s what people wanted to hear.

[APPLAUSE]

(…)

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