Joe Biden tried to get a few laughs during his first commencement address by quoting a Chinese communist leader. He’s now facing criticism for citing words by Mao Zedong in a speech before a class of Coast Guard cadets.

The Democrat’s remarks came Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony in New London, Connecticut. He made the following statement while citing the founding father of the People’s Republic of China:

“There’s a saying, used in a different context, a Chinese saying that says, ‘women hold up half the world.’ It’s an absolute stupid position not to make sure they represent at least half of what we do.”

Biden used this quote from Chairman Mao to emphasize the importance of appointing women to commanding positions in the military for the sake of so-called social justice. Mao is known for being responsible for the deaths of an estimated 80 million people during the so-called Cultural Revolution in 1960s China.

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