LaGuardia Airport does not have a fan in Joe Biden.
The vice president used New York City’s second-largest airport to make his case for investment in U.S. infrastructure on Wednesday, and it wasn’t pretty.
“If you were blindfolded and I dropped you in an airport in the middle of New York and I dropped you in an airport in the middle of Beijing, you sure as hell wouldn’t pick LaGuardia as being in the United States,” the vice president said, according to press pool reports.
Biden made the comments at a meeting of 75 government and business officials to discuss the Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to run out of resources for transportation infrastructure by August. The gathering was hosted by the White House Business Council.
He piled on. “The greatest city in the world with the airport structure it has now? C’mon guys,” he said. “How long can that last? How long can we continue to be in that position?”
This isn’t the first time Biden has slammed the airport’s aging facilities, nor is it his first mention of blindfolding people. In February, the vice president said that if a blindfolded person were taken to Hong Kong’s airport and asked to name their location once they could see, they would say: “This must be American; it’s a modern airport.” Not so in the U.S. “If I took you and blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport in New York, you must think, ‘I must be in some third-world country.’ “
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was not happy with Biden’s snub. “LaGuardia, obviously, needs an upgrade,” he said back then. “But that being said, the airport manages an extraordinary amount of traffic, and the people who work there make it work under very difficult circumstances, and so as a proud New Yorker, I didn’t like that comment, and I think it was not the right way to talk about it.”
LaGuardia is indeed in need of repairs. Its operator, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is planning to spend $3.6 billion on an overhaul, according to Time.
No airport, however, holds a candle to Biden’s favorite train service, Amtrak. The vice president said Wednesday that he has taken 8,000 trips through Amtrak between his home state of Delaware and Washington. Biden is “Amtrak Joe” through and through, not “Airport Joe.”