Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s suggestion that coal miners should “learn to program” as the United States transitions away from fossil fuels could end up being a major gaffe, said “Fox & Friends” host Rachel Campos-Duffy Wednesday.
The host of the Fox Nation series “MOMS” blasted the former vice president for essentially saying coal miners should learn to code or focus on preparing for a revamped green economy.
Campos-Duffy said the remark came off as patronizing and condescending toward blue-collar workers and could haunt Biden just like the “deplorables” remark about then-opponent Donald Trump’s supporters hurt 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“I think this is his ‘deplorable’ moment, honestly, I really do. This is so patronizing, the idea that they’re just throwing coal into a furnace like we’re living in ‘Oliver Twist’ times,” she responded, as co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Dean Cain agreed.
“This is a highly technical industry now. It’s not the way he’s describing it. And by the way, I don’t want to be a soldier in the Army, I don’t want to work in a coal mine, but some people do want to do these jobs. And for him to say everyone should program and that’s the only respectable job there is? Completely patronizing, condescending,” she continued.
At a campaign event Monday in New Hampshire, Biden said, “Anybody who can go down 300-3,000 feet in a mine sure as hell can learn how to program as well. But we don’t think of it that way. Anybody who can throw coal into furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.”
The remark came after Biden said at last month’s Democratic presidential primary debate that he’d sacrifice economic growth due to a boom in oil and natural gas production and potentially risk displacing hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers in order to combat climate change.
Biden – the front-runner in national polling in the Democratic nomination race – emphasized that “the opportunity for those workers to transition to high-paying jobs … is real.”
“We shouldn’t build another new highway in America that doesn’t have charging stations on it. We have an opportunity to put 550,000 charging stations so that we own the electrical vehicle market, creating millions of jobs for people installing them, as well making sure that we own electric vehicle market,” Biden explained.
But he insisted that “we have to make sure we explain it to those people who are displaced that their skills are going to be needed for the new opportunities.”
Hegseth pushed back on the idea that Americans want to be told by the government what jobs they should perform. He pointed back to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s, D-Mass., acknowledgement that a ‘Medicare-for-all’ health care system would lead to job losses in the private sector.
“You have so much faith in government that you’re going to determine what the jobs of the future are going to be, while putting good jobs and industries out of work right now that provide the energy renaissance that we need to not rely on the Middle East [for oil], to beat back China? The whole thing is so fantastical and tied to some futuristic thinking that trusts government to make your lives better, it’s insane,” he argued.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.