LOS ANGELES -- Joe Biden has been fighting a stutter since childhood, and he said Friday he has no regrets about talking openly about it after one of his responses in Thursday's presidential debate prompted a mocking tweet from former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
“I don't have any regrets because I know what it's like to be humiliated,” the former vice president said. Over time, he's come to look at his speech difficulties as a gift because "it's generated a sense of empathy in me I might not have had."
Sanders ridiculed Biden on Twitter after he appeared to imitate a stuttering child during the debate. The tweet was later deleted and Biden said he accepted Sanders' public apology for posting it.
Biden made the reference to the child when discussing a list of people he regularly keeps in touch with, and who have his personal phone number. He indicated he helps the child with a stutter.
In a tweet last night, Biden wrote: “I’ve worked my whole life to overcome a stutter. And it’s my great honor to mentor kids who have experienced the same. It’s called empathy. Look it up."
Sanders later tweeted: “I actually didn’t know that about you and that is commendable. I apologize and should have made my point respectfully."
Biden told reporters gathered outside a Mexican restaurant that his stutter “probably turned out to be the gift that gave me a sense of empathy and understanding, how whether you are a person of color or you are a person with a different attitude or you are a person that looks different or a person who has anything from a cleft palate to a stutter, how it's debilitating.”
“It should not define them," Biden said. “The fact that they stutter doesn't define who they are."
“There's a lot of people who are victimized because of things that are beyond their control,” he added. “I feel sometimes a little self-conscious talking about it. But I don't regret it.”
“The man has no empathy, he has no sense of decency,” Biden added.