Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden says he has strong relationships with Delaware’s Somali community because « there’s an awful lot driving cabs » and he’s made friends with them at the Wilmington train station.
Some Delaware cab company owners disputed Biden’s comment about Somali drivers.
« I don’t think I’ve seen any in Delaware, » said Anthony Eber, the owner of the six-cab Family Taxi and an immigrant from Sierra Leone. « I see some Guinean [drivers], but no Somali drivers. »
Still, other cab drivers in Wilmington said they’ve seen him — though not as much since he’s become vice president — and they like him.
« He’s a nice guy. He’s a very good man, » said George Daniels, a Liberian immigrant and the driver and owner of his own company, Kitco Taxi, who said he’s driven Biden before.
Biden’s comments came on the first day of a White House summit focused on countering violent extremism, in a speech in front of state and local law enforcement officials from across the country.
After mentioning the Somali community in Minneapolis, he said there’s a « very identifiable Somali community » in his home city of Wilmington, Delaware.
« I might add if you come to the train station with me you’ll notice I have great relationships with them because there’s an awful lot driving cabs and are friends of mine, » Biden said.
Then, he added: « For real. I’m not being solicitous. I’m being serious. »
It’s not the first time Biden has drawn attention for ethnicity-related comments. While he was in the Senate, he remarked that « you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking. »
It also wasn’t Biden’s only awkward moment on Tuesday. A photo of him grabbing the shoulders and whispering into the ear of Stephanie Carter, the wife of new Defense Secretary Ash Carter, drew attention on Twitter earlier in the day.