On Monday, US President Joe Biden appeared to have complimented a nurse who was guiding him through an Arizona COVID-19 vaccination site in a way that sparked diverse reactions online.
"Are you a freshman at the university?” Biden asked the nurse, only to hear a negative answer and then continuing: "You look like a freshman".
The nurse laughed and thanked him, continuing the tour.
The "freshman" line immediately went viral, with some appreciating it and others considering it as sexism or just a "cringe" attempt to "flirt". Among the first to react was the eldest son of the former US president, Donald Trump, as both frequently called Biden Creepy Joe during the 2020 presidential contest.
However, Trump Jr's lunge was quickly cooled by those who pointed out how his father treats women.
When you live in a house that grabbed women by the 🐈 perhaps you don’t throw rocks.— MisMegness (@mismegness) February 8, 2021
No Jr. what is cringe worthy is your daddy going to the dressing rooms of Miss America while they were changing their close. That was cringe worthy. Also that picture of Ivanka on his lap is cringe worthy. So No look closer.— Human (@4HumanUnity) February 8, 2021
Biden's use of the word "freshman" prompted heated debate over whether it was a compliment or an insult.
Y'all be like let's excuse everyday misogyny cause "Democrat"— More rice 🍚🍚🍚 (@yesiblockedu) February 8, 2021
WTF... and they called you creepy AF after. pic.twitter.com/eVLv4oZMWQ— Topper Harley (@ShitHeardataBar) February 8, 2021
Once you hit 50 everyone under 30 looks like a teenager.— colourmehazel (@colourmehazel) February 8, 2021
Some people advocated that Biden implied the phrase as a compliment, referring to his age and suggesting that he did not mean anything bad.
Or he’s infantilizing a professional woman. But sure it’s a “compliment”— Devonian Devil (@LimeyEmily) February 8, 2021
OMG 🙄 it was a compliment, stop making him out to be creepy. He didn't suggest grabbing her pu$$y, which is apparently acceptable so... 🙄— Cath (@CathOCall) February 8, 2021
Biden is known to sometimes spew gaffes that can be seen as bizarre or even offensive, with a recent incident dating back to his presidential campaign in October 2020.
While campaigning in Florida, he happened to refer to the group of underage girls and say that he would "want to see them dancing when they're four years older".
The dubious line prompted discussion over whether that was, as some put it, "yikes", or just a reference to Biden's hopes for returning as president four years later for a second term.