President Biden on Monday left the political world scratching its head when he claimed that he was “raised” by Delaware’s Puerto Rican community.
During a visit to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, where the president pledged $60 million in U.S. aid to help the island prepare for severe storms like Hurricane Ian, Mr. Biden made the bizarre claim.
“I was sort of raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically,” he told the crowd.
The remark, one month before the midterm elections, came as Mr. Biden was touting his connections to Puerto Rico, including noting that 20% of his home state’s population were minorities. Mr. Biden did not say, however, how many of those residents were Latino or Puerto Rican in the state where he attended a private Catholic prep school.
Mr. Biden’s outlandish claim was mocked by conservatives on Twitter, who compared it to the president repeatedly telling a debunked story about getting arrested while trying to visit activist Nelson Mandela in a South African prison.
“Joe Biden was raised in Puerto Rico before he marched for civil rights and got arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela in the slammer,” wrote Ben Johnson, a writer with the Daily Wire.
“Biden said he was raised Puerto Rican politically. What? Make it make sense,” wrote Pastor Timothy Alden, a frequent Biden critic.
Conservative writer Mollie Hemingway reacted to Mr. Biden’s claim by simply writing “Hoo Boy.”
About 11% of Delaware’s population is Hispanic or Latino, according to data from the U.S. census. That lags behind Whites, which account for 60% of Delaware’s population, and Blacks, which account for 23% of its population.
The census doesn’t break down how many of the state’s Latinos identify as Puerto Rican. But the Latino Family Literacy Project in Delaware says there are roughly 23,000 Puerto Ricans living in the state, which would account for 2.5% of the state’s nearly 898,000 residents.
The only group with a larger Hispanic population than Puerto Ricans is Mexicans, which make up 3.4% of the state’s residents, according to the project.
Mr. Biden was in Puerto Rico to survey hurricane damage, meet with families and announce the $60 million in aid to prepare the island for future storms.
Hurricane Fiona ravaged the island two weeks ago. As of Monday, 100,000 people were still without power because of storm damage.
“So many people have been displaced from their homes, lost their jobs and savings, or suffered injuries, often unseen, but many times unseen. Yet somehow the people of Puerto Rico keep getting back up with resilience and determination. You deserve every bit of help your country can give you and that’s what I’m determined to do,” Mr. Biden said in Ponce, Puerto Rico.