In a campaign that has been filled to the brim with more gaffes than anyone can count, Joe Biden may have taken his worst (yet) step into the Land of Foot-in-Mouth in an interview with The Breakfast Club radio show. When host Charlamagne suggested that black voters have “more questions” about what a Biden presidency would look for them, the former vice president replied: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
That proclamation came as a surprise to many black voters, including those who identify as conservatives. It was also sharply disrespectful of black Americans who think it’s just about time that the Democratic Party stop taking their vote for granted.
In a statement, BET co-founder Robert Johnson said there was no excuse for Biden’s remark.
“VP Biden’s statement today represents the arrogant and out-of-touch attitude of a paternalistic white candidate who has the audacity to tell Black people, the descendants of slaves, that they are not Black unless they vote for him,” Johnson said. “This proves unequivocally that the Democratic nominee believes that Black people owe him their vote without question; even though, we as Black people know it is exactly the opposite. He should spend the rest of his campaign apologizing to every Black person he meets.”
Johnson was far from alone in taking Biden to task for the comment.
Burgess Owens, the former Oakland Raiders champion and current Republican candidate for Congress in Utah, said he could only imagine how the press would react if Trump had said something similar.
“If @realDonaldTrump said this there would be riots in the street,” Owens said. “I held picket signs and protested segregation, while Joe Biden fought for it. I will proudly support Trump, let’s see him tell me to my face I’m not black.”
Also unamused was NFL legend Herschel Walker, who said it wasn’t up to Biden to determine what does or doesn’t qualify a person for blackness.
“Wow. I just watched former Vice President @JoeBiden,” Herschel tweeted. “Does he not understand that black and brown skinned people can think for themselves? You don’t determine who we vote for.”
With the campaign under intense fire, Biden spokesperson Symone Sanders did her level best to explain away her boss’s remark.
“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,” Sanders wrote. “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.”
Uh-huh. We’re sure the mainstream media will be only too happy to swallow that. It remains to be seen if the rest of the country will.