President Joe Biden took a moment on Sunday to give hope to a young girl struggling with a stutter — a challenge he has faced himself.
The encounter recalled a highly publicized, similar pep talk he gave during his presidential campaign to a boy who later confidently endorsed Biden at the Democratic National Convention.
“I promise you it will go away if you just keep at it,” Biden told the girl, Avery, in a touching scene captured on video.
“Thank you, Mr. President,” Avery said as she hugged Biden. He then extended an invitation for her to visit the White House.
Avery is the niece of Rufus Gifford, a former deputy campaign manager for Biden, who is awaiting confirmation to be chief of protocol at the State Department.
“My amazing niece and goddaughter Avery has struggled with a stutter much of her life,” Gifford said in a tweet Sunday.
“She was just told by a guy who knows a little something about it that she can be anything she wants to in this world. A day she will never ever forget. Thank you sir,” Gifford wrote.
Biden has spoken openly about having a stutter. He said he never received professional intervention to stop it, but practiced speaking in front of a mirror as a child with strong encouragement from his mother.
Donald Trump supporters ruthlessly mocked Biden when he got hung up on a pronoun during a presidential debate. Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders posted a derisive tweet reading: “I I I I ... hhhave absolutely no idea what Biden is talking about.” She later apologized.
Trump later claimed that Biden “gets angry” because “that’s what happens when you can’t get the words out” — and mimicked a stutter.
On the campaign trail in New Hampshire last year, Biden told young Brayden Harrington not to let stuttering “define you. You are smart as hell. You can do this,” he added.
The boy spoke months later at the Democratic convention.
“I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me feel more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life,” he said.
On Monday, people on Twitter praised Biden’s latest kindness.