Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Friday afternoon expressed regret for telling a radio host that black voters torn between voting for him and President Donald Trump “ain’t black,” remarks that ignited a firestorm online.
What We Know:
- Biden, who served eight years as No. 2 to President Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, added he has never taken black voters for granted and that no one should have to vote for somebody that has.
- “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said in a call with the U.S. Black Chambers, later saying that he had not expected to join the call. “I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.”
- His remarks came hours after a testy exchange with Charlamagne Tha God, a co-host on The Breakfast Club, a nationally syndicated morning show popular with black millennials, that has dominated the conversation online. In the interview, during which the former vice president sidestepped a question about marijuana legalization and his running-mate selection, Biden also made it clear that he felt there was no reason black Americans would consider voting for Trump.
“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” – Joe Biden
- The remark sparked immediate pushback on social media, with activists and conservatives jumping on Biden, 77, for acting as the arbiter of blackness. His words also exposed wounds among Democrats that date to 2016, when many leaders felt the party took black voters for granted.
- Before the apology, the Trump campaign organized a conference call with reporters where U.S. Senator Tim Scott, who is black, said Biden’s comments were “arrogant and demeaning” and “negative race-baiting rhetoric”.
- Biden’s senior adviser Symone Sanders said in a tweet, “He was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day. Period.”
- In another part of the interview, Biden assured Charlamagne that he intended to inspire black voters in the general election. Using the appeal that worked for him in the Democratic primary, Biden said black voters knew him and his record and would value his close kinship with former President Barack Obama.
- Biden gave some of his most detailed explanations of his economic policy. He rejected the idea that he would govern as an economic progressive, saying, “I have a record of over 40 years, and I’m going to be Joe Biden. Look at my record.”
Can black America afford to withhold their vote in this year’s presidential election? No vote for Biden is a vote for Trump, plain and simple. Sometimes you have to lose the fight to win the war. Let’s discuss.