Retired pilot Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger told Donald Trump‘s daughter-in-law and adviser, Lara Trump, to “grow up” and “show some decency” in a recent op-ed in The New York Times after she made a disparaging comment about how Joe Biden talks.
Lara, who is working on the president’s re-election campaign, mocked the former vice president at a campaign event in Iowa on Thursday, saying she feels “kind of sad for Joe Biden” because of his occasional verbal gaffes.
“I’m supposed to want him to fail at every turn, but every time he comes on stage or they turn to him I’m like, ‘Joe can you get it out? Let’s get the words out Joe,’ ” said Lara, 37, last week. “The problem is that’s their front-runner.”
She was seemingly unaware of Biden’s history overcoming a stutter, which he has regularly discussed. Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders apologized in December after making a similar joke about Biden.
Lara denied she was mocking Biden’s history with a stutter specifically, tweeting last week that she didn’t even know he used to have one.
Sullenberger, who famously pulled off a dramatic emergency landing on the Hudson River that saved 155 people on the flight he was piloting, took exception to Mrs. Trump’s comments, writing in the Times on Saturday that he also grew up with a speech impediment and related to Biden.
“This culture of cruelty is what drives decent people from public service, and what makes millions of Americans recoil from politics, and even from participating in our democracy,” Sullenberger, 68, wrote.
He noted that he has supported Biden politically but that this issue went beyond partisanship.
“I’ve worked my whole life to overcome a stutter,” Biden responded to Sanders on Twitter in December, after she made a dig similar to Lara’s. “And it’s my great honor to mentor kids who have experienced the same. It’s called empathy. Look it up.”
Sanders soon apologized, saying she wasn’t aware Biden used to have a speech impediment.
Lara’s husband, Eric Trump, has also poked at Biden’s speech, once telling Fox News: “Biden can’t get through two sentences without stuttering.”
Sully wrote in his Times op-ed that he believes people who can’t speak decently of others “have no place in public life.”
“What might a child who stutters, as I did, feel when they hear a grown-up on a public stage trying to make a bunch of other adults laugh by ridiculing a public figure who also stutters?” he wrote, adding, “So, to every child who feels today, what I felt, after hearing those cruel remarks by an adult who should know better, here is what I want you to know: You are fine, just as you are.”