File this under this actually happened: Last night, former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden played “Despacito” at a Kissimmee, Florida, Hispanic Heritage Month event–just before his speech–from his cellphone, and bobbed his head along, while looking around the room, grinning.
Yes, this is real life, as if it couldn’t get any weirder. Now #DespacitoJoe is trending, along with #SlowJoe, because that is how the Internet works. Some are using the hashtags jokingly, while others are using them to criticize Biden—some are using the “slow” bit to a lack of accomplishments, while serving as vice president.
“I just have one thing to say; hang on here,” he says in the clip, then plays the song from a spot that is…not the chorus. It appears nobody queued up the song for him.
As odd as this is on its own, let’s be fair—some context is needed. First, Luis Fonsi introduced Biden at the event. After playing the song via phone (OK, it’s still weird), he then gives proper props to Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and, we suppose, Justin Bieber: “I tell you what, if I had the talent of any one of these people, I’d be elected president by acclimation,” he says.
Additionally, in his speech, Biden spoke directly to Puerto Ricans, referencing the post-Hurricane Maria crisis and Trump’s failings then—and still today—in supporting the island’s recovery.
Naturally, Trump responded by retweeting a doctored video of the moment: Instead of “Despacito,” ot’s N.W.A’s “Fuck tha Police” playing from Biden’s phone.
Twitter flagged the video as “manipulated media.”
There’s even more to unpack, though. Is Biden pandering to Latines by using the song?
And how does this song in particular fit into the fact that Biden’s been accused of sexual assault and acting inappropriately with women and girls? The lyrics to “Despacito” don’t do much to stymie those allegations.
There’s just…a lot to unpack here.