I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether youre for me or Trump, then you aint black, Biden told radio host Charlamagne Tha God.
YouTube/The Breakfast Club
Former Vice President Joe Biden apologized on Friday afternoon just hours after telling radio host Charlamagne Tha God that he aint black if he had additional questions about whether to support Bidens presidential bid over Donald Trumps.
I should not have been so cavalier. Ive never, never, ever taken the African- American community for granted, Biden said on a call with the Black Chamber of Commerce. I shouldnt have been such a wise guy.
Before Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, addressed the remark, his campaign had moved quickly to clarify it, saying that he was speaking in jest.
Biden made the comment on Friday morning during an interview with Charlamagne on popular radio show The Breakfast Club. After being asked about his search for a vice presidential candidate, Biden first answered vaguely by saying hes not acknowledging anybody who is being considered before adding that he could guarantee there were multiple black women being considered.
African-American voters are the most loyal constituency in the Democratic Party and played a key role in elevating Bidens candidacy to the status of presumptive nominee.
Pressed for additional details, an advisor interrupted to wrap up the interview. Charlamagne then said, You cant do that to black media!
I do that to white media and black media because my wife has to go on at 6 oclock, Biden replied, while looking at his watch and saying, Im in trouble.
Biden said, in an apparent light-hearted fashion: Youve got more questions? Well, I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether youre for me or Trump, then you aint black.
Charlamagne said it had nothing to do with Trump but was about wanting something for my community.
Take a look at my record, man! Biden responded. I have a record that is second-to-none. The NAACP has endorsed me every time Ive run, I mean, cmon. Take a look at the record.
Within minutes, Trump-aligned Republicans happily seized on the moment. Hosting an impromptu call with reporters, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser on Trumps reelection campaign, called Bidens comment extremely racist.
We hear a lot on the left, particularly in the media, about white privilege, Pierson said. And I think this video... of an 80-year-old man telling a young black man how to be black is the definition of white privilege. (Biden is 77.)
She added: He basically says, how dare you, as if black America has the audacity to ask more questions about a candidate who is running for president of the United States.
Scott, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, said he was shocked and surprised by Bidens remark. Choosing not to respond directly to a question about the suggestion it was said in jest, Scott said he was struck by the condescension and the arrogance in his comments.
I could not believe my ears that he would stoop so low to tell folks what they should do, how they should think, and what it means to be black. That is as arrogant, and offensive, and demeaning as I can imagine in this time that were living, the senator said.
A handful of Bernie Sanders supporters and African-American celebrities were quick to dunk on Biden for apparently assuming he had the black vote sealed.
But other Democrats and prominent media figures weighed in delicately, with some brushing off the moment as unlikely to sway voters.
Biden makes the mistake of assuming he has the Black vote in the bag. He does not. He needs a ticket that will energize people, Cross said, emphasizing for the need for Biden to select a black female running mate.
He may feel comfortable making comments in jest. But he should know all Black voters are not yet comfortable with him. Theres still work to be done. That doesnt mean Black voters will cast a ballot for Trump. But he doesnt just want our votes. He has a responsibility at the top of the ticket to think down ballot. Hence, he and the party wants our votes, our dollars, our canvassing, our phone banking, our enthusiasm.