‘I promise you it’ll go away if you just keep at it, okay?’
President Joe Biden was captured on video sharing words of encouragement with a girl struggling with a stutter.
Mr Biden was speaking to Avery, the niece of Rufus Gifford, who served as the US ambassador to Denmark during the second half of the Obama administration and as Mr Biden’s 2020 deputy campaign manager.
The president has spoken about his own struggle with stuttering on numerous occasions.
“I promise you it’ll go away if you just keep at it, okay?” Mr Biden tells Avery in the video tweeted by Mr Gifford on Sunday. Mr Gifford is waiting to be confirmed as the State Department’s chief of protocol.
“My amazing niece and goddaughter Avery has struggled with a stutter much of her life. 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,” Mr Gifford tweeted. “A day she will never ever forget. Thank you, sir.”
The interaction appeared to have been recorded in Nantucket, Massachusetts, CNN reported. The First Family spent the Thanksgiving holiday on the island. Mr Biden arrived back in Washington, DC on Sunday.
Mr Biden has previously shared how he used to spend hours in front of the mirror reciting Irish poetry, such as the work of William Butler Yeats, to try to work through the issue.
During a 2020 CNN townhall, Mr Biden said he marks his speeches to note where he can take breaths to aid his delivery.
“You know, stuttering, when you think about it, is the only handicap that people still laugh about. That [they] still humiliate people about. And they don’t even mean to,” Mr Biden said.
Mr Biden met 12-year-old Brayden Harrington while campaigning in New Hampshire. After a short conversation at the rope line, Brayden was invited to speak to then-candidate Biden backstage, where he shared his own experience of stuttering and strategies for how to overcome it.
“Don’t let it define you,” Mr Biden said.
Brayden later spoke at the 2020 Democratic National Convention and in connection to Mr Biden’s inauguration in January.
“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,” Brayden said during the DNC.