UPDATE: Biden apologizes for comments about African American voters
Biden tells Charlamagne Tha God 'You ain't Black' if you choose Trump over him.
By Tim Darnell
May 22, 2020
Presumptive Democratic White House nominee Joe Biden told listeners of a popular black radio talk show Friday morning that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or (Donald) Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Biden apologized Friday afternoon for his comments.
“I should not have been so cavalier. I’ve never, never, ever taken the African American community for granted,” Biden said, according to reporter Ed O’Keefe.
@JoeBiden @cthagod MORE: "I shouldn't have been such a wise guy," @JoeBiden said later in the call with the @usblackchambers "I shouldn't have been so cavalier. ... No one should have to vote for any party based on their race, their religion, their background."
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) May 22, 2020
After poor showings in the Iowa Democratic caucus and then the New Hampshire primary, Biden's campaign was revived before the South Carolina primary by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn's endorsement. After winning South Carolina, Biden cruised to solid victories on Super Tuesday and every other Democratic primary, eventually driving every other contender, including U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, out of the race.
Biden has since secured the endorsement of almost all of his former rivals, including U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, an African American lawmaker rumored to be on his list of potential running mates.
And the party's most popular figure — former President Barack Obama — also has committed to Biden.
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Biden, who has committed to choosing a female running mate, is rumored to be considering former Georgia state lawmaker Stacey Abrams as his No. 2. In one of his last debates with Sanders, Biden said he would appoint an African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The radio host was pressing Biden on reports that he is considering Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is white, to be vice president and told him black voters “saved your political life in the primaries” and “have things they want from you.”
“I’m not acknowledging anybody who is being considered,” Biden said. “But I guarantee you there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple.”
A Biden aide then sought to end the interview, prompting the host to say, “You can’t do that to black media.” Biden responded, “I do that to black media and white media” and said his wife needed to use the television studio.
He then added: “If you’ve got a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or for Trump, then you ain’t black.”
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The comments come at a critical point in the presidential campaign as Biden tries to revive the mutli-racial and mulit-generational coalition that twice elected Obama. But with black voters already overwhelmingly opposed to Trump, Biden is also considering candidates such as Klobuchar.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a Trump supporter and the Senate’s sole black Republican, said he was “shocked and surprised” by Biden’s remark.
“I thought to myself, as an African American, been black for 54 years, I was struck by the condescension and the arrogance in his comments,” Scott said in a conference call quickly arranged by the Trump campaign. “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.”
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Symone Sanders, a Biden senior adviser who is also black, said his comment in Friday’s interview was “made in jest.”
“Let’s be clear about what the VP was saying,” Sanders tweeted. “He was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day. Period.”
In an interview earlier this month on the Rev. Al Sharpton's "PoliticsNation" on MSNBC, Biden said more than a dozen women are being vetted for his No. 2 by his campaign, adding there "is significantly more than one black woman" being considered.
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Biden is battling an allegation of sexual assault by a former aide, Tara Reade, who claims the candidate attacked her in the 1990s while he was a senator. Before his interview with Sharpton, Biden addressed the controversy directly for the first time, vehemently denying the allegation on another MSNBC show, "Morning Joe."