Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his relationship with the back community and questioned the blackness of African-American voters during a Friday morning interview with a popular black radio host.
Biden appeared to suggest on the radio program “The Breakfast Club” that black people “ain’t black” if they aren’t planning to vote for him in November.
The statement came after the radio host, a man who goes by the name Charlamagne tha God, insisted that Biden earn the vote of black Americans.
Near the end of the 18-minute segment, a Biden aide can be heard attempting to stop the interview after Charlamagne pressed Biden on whether he is considering a black woman to be his running mate.
.@JoeBiden: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” @cthagod: “It don’t have nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact — I want something for my community.” @breakfastclubam pic.twitter.com/endvWnOIV2
— America Rising (@AmericaRising) May 22, 2020
“That’s really our time. I apologize,” the aide said.
But the radio host was not pleased with the interview ending so abruptly.
“You can’t do that to black media,” Charlamagne said.
“I do that to white media and black media because my wife has to go on at [6 a.m.],” the presumptive Democratic nominee responded.
Biden then looked at his watch and said, “Oh, uh oh, I’m in trouble.”
The radio host signaled that he and other black voters will need to hear more from Biden before he earns their vote, which seemed to irk the former vice president.
Charlamagne asked Biden to visit him in New York, and added: “It’s a long way until November. We’ve got more questions.”
“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Biden said.
Reaction to the interview was swift online, and “#YouAintBlack” began trending on Twitter:
Somebody needs to tell Joe Biden that this comment to Charlamagne was a mistake.
Yes, Biden is a much better choice for black people than racist Trump.
But white people don’t get to tell black people what is black.
Biden still has to EARN our vote.pic.twitter.com/TPEV5ZpEYi
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 22, 2020
Joe Biden is a racist.
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) May 22, 2020
Joe Biden does not get to determine who is black and who isn’t. He is not entitled to the votes of black people and after this racist comment, he should not get any votes from the black community. pic.twitter.com/f5gZ8WwMYq
— Errol Webber For Congress (CA-37) (@ErrolWebber) May 22, 2020
Joe Biden, who helped imprison thousands of black youngsters with 5 & 10 year mandatory prison sentences through his 1994 Crime Law. Yet, he seems to think he owns our votes. Why? pic.twitter.com/83NjoqdtpI
— Garry Cobb (@GarryCobb) May 22, 2020
Trump campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson described Biden’s comments as “racist and dehumanizing” in a statement from “Black Voices for Trump” posted to Twitter.
“White liberal elitists have continuously dictated which black Americans are allowed to come to the table and have a voice,” Pierson said.
“It is clear now more than ever, following these racist and dehumanizing remarks, that Joe Biden believes black men and women are incapable of being independent or free thinking. He truly believes that he, a 77-year-old white man, should dictate how black people should behave,” she said.
“Biden has a history of racial condescension and today he once again proved what a growing number of black Americans and I have always known — Joe Biden does not deserve our votes.”
— Katrina Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) May 22, 2020
Biden made the “you ain’t black” comments after defending his record on crime legislation during his time as a senator from Delaware, which critics have said led to the disproportionate incarceration of black Americans.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton similarly made negative headlines when she joined “The Breakfast Club” during the 2016 election.
Clinton was asked by the black radio show hosts to name an item which she always carries with her.
Her response to the question was “hot sauce.”
Critics swiftly accused Clinton of pandering to the black community.
The Atlantic reported the lyrics “I got hot sauce in my bag,” from a popular Beyoncé song called “Formation,” became a popular statement at the time in black culture, “espousing a worldview that proudly embraces certain stereotypes and characteristics that were once deemed ‘too black’ for polite society or undesirable.”
Vann Newkirk, writing for The Atlantic, commented on the backlash Clinton received.
“But it does make sense, then, that many young black people might be upset by a white politician claiming to love hot sauce in an interview that was clearly targeted towards them and their vote,” Newkirk wrote.
UPDATE, May 22, 2020: Several hours after this interview, Joe Biden apologized for his comments during a call with black business leaders, according to Business Insider. “(I) shouldn’t have been so cavalier,” Biden said, according to the report.
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