Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is a retired airline captain, who is best known for the role he played in the 2009 forced water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. The water landing took place after a bird strike disabled both engines. Because of his quick thinking, all 155 people aboard survived.
Sullenberger has now opened up about his lifetime struggle with stuttering. He is speaking up now in response to “cruel remarks” made by Eric Trump’s wife, Lara, mocking Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s speech impediment.
Sullenberger shared his struggles with stuttering in an op-ed that he wrote in the New York Times. The op-ed was published on Saturday.
He shared the “anguish” he felt when being called on in grade school. “My neck and face would quickly begin to flush a bright red, the searing heat rising all the way to the top of my head; every eye in the room on me; the intense and painful humiliation, and bullying that would follow, all because of my inability to get the words out,” Sullenberger shared.
He added that he had that same feeling after hearing about Lara Trump’s recent comments.
On Friday, during a Women for Trump rally, Lara Trump stated that she feels “kind of sad for Joe Biden” when he speaks, and prompted, “Joe, can you get it out? Let’s get the words out, Joe.”
Biden has shared that he has worked hard to try and overcome his stuttering. “Stuttering gave me an insight I don’t think I ever would have had into other people’s pain.”
Lara Trump is not the only person to poke fun at Biden’s stuttering. Sarah Sanders also made fun of Biden on Twitter.
Sullenberger wrote in his op-ed that he had to learn to enunciate words slowly and overcome bullying. He went on to express his concerns that Lara Trump’s message could affect children who are trying to overcome their stuttering.
“What might a child who stutters, as I did, feel when they hear a grown-up on a public stage trying to make a bunch of other adults laugh by ridiculing a public figure who also stutters?” Sullenberger wrote.
He went on to write a message to children that are being affected by a “culture of cruelty.”
“You are fine, just as you are. You can do any job you dream of when you grow up. A speech disorder is a lot easier to treat than a character defect,” Sullenberger added. “You become a true leader, not because of how you speak, but because of what you have to say — and the challenges you have overcome to help others.”
Sullenberger went on to give high praise to Joe Biden for being so open about his struggles dealing with stuttering.