Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a contentious Friday morning interview with a nationally syndicated hip-hop radio show defended his record on race, arguing that black voters who are undecided and have a “problem figuring out” on whether to vote for him or President Trump, then they “ain’t black.”
Towards the end of the radio show on “The Breakfast Club,” Biden staff interrupted to cut off the interview because the vice president’s wife needed the makeshift studio for her upcoming interview.
The host Charlamagne tha God jokingly interjected and said “you can’t do that to black media.”
“I do that to white media and black media,” Biden responded.
“Listen, you’ve got to come see us when you come to New York, V.P. Biden,” Charlamagne said. “It’s a long way until November. We’ve got more questions.”
“You’ve got more questions?” Biden replied. “Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Charlamagne countered on Biden replied saying “it don’t have nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact [that] I want something for my community.”
Biden then replied by promoting his legislative record that he said were devoted to advancing civil rights.
“Take a look at my record, man! I extended the Voting Rights [Act] 25 years. I have a record that is second-to-none,” he said. “The NAACP’s endorsed me every time I’ve run. I mean, come on. Take a look at the record.”
It was the first time Biden appeared on the radio show, which caters primarily to a black audience and the interview was contentious and awkward. Charlamagne challenged the former vice president about not doing enough to reach out to black voters and pressed Biden if he is lying that he isn’t considering a black woman to serve as his running mate. It was reported Thursday night that Biden is undergoing a formal vetting and is heavily considering Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a white woman to join him on the Democratic ticket.
After the interview, prominent Republicans immediately seized upon Biden’s remark. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the party’s only black senator called the former vice president’s statements “the most arrogant, condescending comment I’ve heard in a very long time.”
“1.3 million black Americans already voted for Trump in 2016. This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we “ain’t black.” I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and browbeat those that don’t agree,” Scott said in a tweet.
Trump’s reelection campaign also weighed in on the remark, posting a video of Biden’s exchange with Charlamagne to its official Twitter account along with the accompanying message: “Sorry to inform all the Black Trump Supporters that #YouAintBlack in @JoeBiden’s book.”
1.3 million black Americans already voted for Trump in 2016. This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we “ain’t black.” I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree.— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) May 22, 2020
Biden’s campaign sought to manage the fallout, with his senior adviser Symone Sanders defended the comments, saying they were made “in jest”.
“Vice President Biden spent his career fighting alongside and for the African American community. He won his party’s nomination by earning every vote and meeting people where they are and that’s exactly what he intends to do this November,” she said in a tweet. “The comments made at the end of the Breakfast Club interview were in jest, but let’s be clear about what the VP was saying: he was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day. Period.”
The comments made at the end of the Breakfast Club interview were in jest, but let’s be clear about what the VP was saying: he was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day. Period.— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) May 22, 2020