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Brayden Harrington, Hero

Catholic Trump advocate's mockery of stuttering boy draws sharp contrast with Biden's empathetic embrace of the child
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Joe Biden’s speech at the convention last night was good — not a barn-burner, but upbeat, inspiring, optimistic, and refreshingly normal. We could use refreshingly normal.

But the speech of the evening belonged to Brayden Harrington, a 13 year old boy who stutters, and who explained how Joe Biden, who also stutters, gave him advice on how to speak more clearly when you give a speech. Brayden expressed his thanks for how Biden comforted and inspired him. Check this two-minute speech out:

I have a son who stutters, and let me tell you, as hard as it looked for Brayden to give that little talk, I assure you that it was far, far more difficult. I had tears in my eyes last night watching that brave kid struggle to say his words — tears, because I know from raising a boy who stutters how much courage and grit it took for him to stand before a camera and give that message.

So, this morning, it was a shock to see what a Catholic writer friend of mine tweeted. John Hendrickson, an Atlantic editor who is a stutterer, and who wrote a long, fantastic piece in January on Biden’s struggle with stuttering, called him out:

Austin, it may not surprise you to learn, is author of the recently published The Catholic Case For Trump. The book is 208 pages long, but that one word — “W-w-w-w-w-w-what?” — tells you all you need to know about its case, from this author. This is a particularly nasty case of what Adam Serwer once said about Trump and his supporters: “The cruelty is the point.”

I only hope Austin never has to watch a child suffer as my wife and I have had to do with our son, or the Harrington family has had to do with theirs. I’m not a Biden supporter, but I have long found his natural empathy with people to be the most appealing thing about him. Austin Ruse’s tweet this morning really brings that home — and brings home the contrast between Biden and Trump.

UPDATE: A reader points out that Ruse was not making fun of Brayden, but Joe Biden for stuttering. If that is true, then I apologize for accusing him of mocking Brayden, but I still think it is revolting that he would make fun of Biden or anybody else for stuttering. Again, I have a son who stutters, and understand with particular insight the kind of pain that people who stutter, especially kids, go through, especially when people make fun of them.