Biden Falsely Claims He Never Criticized the Tea Party

Vice President Joe Biden falsely claimed in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Tuesday that he had never insulted or denigrated the tea party.

Matthews asked Biden why Democrats had not been fighting on issues like immigration, trade, and foreign wars, which Donald Trump used to rally supporters in the Republican primary.

"You never heard me criticize the tea party. The reason I didn't is because a lot of people are scared, beat up, and they lost a lot," Biden said.

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In a closed-door meeting with black clergy in 2014, however, Biden reportedly called the tea party "crazy." CNN reported the exchange from someone who had been in the meeting. Biden's office declined to confirm or deny his remark at the time.

Biden also reportedly referred to tea party members of Congress as "acting like terrorists" after tense negotiations over raising the debt ceiling in 2011.

Politico reported that Biden used the term to describe Republican House members in a closed-door caucus meeting with House Democrats,  who had suggested their contempt over the finished deal.

When the report came out, Biden's office initially declined to respond but would eventually release a statement that he never used the "terrorist" term described by the sources in the room.