Joe Biden apologized to black business leaders for telling popular radio show host Charlamagne tha God that he ‘ain’t black’ if he can’t discern the better presidential candidate between Biden and President Trump.
‘I should not have been so cavalier. I’ve never, never, ever taken the African-American community for granted,’ Biden said, according to the Associated Press. ‘I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy.’
Biden added that, ‘No one should have to vote for any party based on their race, their religion, their background,’ on a conference call with the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce Friday afternoon.
Among those who criticized Biden for what he said was Diddy, also known as Puff Daddy, tweeting, ‘Aye bruh @JoeBiden I already told you the #BlackVoteAintFree.’
— Diddy (@Diddy) May 22, 2020
Biden, the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee, made the cringey comment to Charlamagne tha God at the end of a contentious 18-minute interview that aired Friday morning, where the former vice president was forced to defend his record supporting black Americans.
Over the course of the interview, an aide twice interrupted the back-and-forth to tell Biden he was over on time.
This inspired Charlamagne the God, the host of the popular ‘Breakfast Club’ program, to say, ‘You can’t do that to black media.’
‘I’ve got to do that to white media and black media because my wife has to go on at 6 o’clock,’ Biden replied. ‘Uh oh, I’m in trouble,’ he muttered, checking the time.
The Bidens, who are under a coronavirus stay at home order in Delaware, share a TV studio set up in a basement rec room.
Charlamagne the God asked the ex-veep to come see him in New York post-pandemic.
‘It’s a long way until November, we’ve got more questions,’ the radio host said.
Biden sounded surprised by that comment.
‘You’ve got more questions?’ he asked.
‘Well, I will tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,’ Biden said.
Charlamagne the God replied, ‘it has nothing to do with Trump.
‘I want something for my community,’ he told the former vice president.
Biden, using the defensive tone he used for most of the interview, shot back, ‘Take a look at my record man.’
‘I extended the voting rights act 25 years. I have a record that is second to none. The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run. Come on, take a look at my record,’ Biden said.
When an aide tried ending things for a third time, Biden promised he would come back on ‘The Breakfast Club’ and called Charlamagne tha God ‘pal.’
Things had gotten off to a rocky start with Charlamagne the God copping to the fact that he had been criticial of Biden on his show.
‘I know you have,’ Biden replied. ‘You don’t know me.’
Charlamagne tha God admitted that was accurate.
‘No I don’t, that’s why I want to get to know you today,’ the host said. ‘I’m going to talk to you mostly about black stuff.’
Charlamagne tha God asked about Biden’s family and how they were doing during the coronavirus pandemic, while Biden segued and said, ‘I’ll tell you what, the black community is getting killed though.’
The radio host agreed, and then asked Biden about his cognitive health, pointing to the many attacks on the right suggesting that the 77-year-old candidate was experiencing a mental decline.
Biden responded by saying he couldn’t wait to take on the ‘stable genius,’ Trump.
Charlamagne tha God also questioned Biden on how he could excite voters from his basement.
‘I’m following the rules man. I wear my mask,’ Biden replied.
‘By the way I’m beating him across the board,’ he continued. ‘It’s not hurting me, I’m winning in all those states, I’m head in all national polls, the more he talks the better off I am.’
Charlamagne tha God said he was skeptical of polling after what happened in 2016 – especially since Hillary Clinton was ahead in national polling, but got beaten in three key swing states, where polling wasn’t being conducted as regularly.
‘Polls can be illusions,’ the radio host said.
Biden argued that it’s different in 2020 because instead of being an unknown change agent, Trump is a known commodity.
The two had a back-and-forth about the controversial 1994 crime bill, which has been blamed for mass incarceration of black Americans.
‘I got to ask you though, why so much resistance on admitting the crime bill and other legislation you were a part of was damaging to the black community?’ Charlamagne tha God asked Biden at one point. ‘We had Hillary on a few years ago, and Miss Clinton said the crime bill, we made a lot of mistakes with that and she wanted to atone for that by becoming the next president.’
Biden didn’t see things the same way.
‘She was wrong. It wasn’t the crime bill, it was the drug legislation, it was the institution of mandatory minimums, which I opposed,’ he said.
Biden said he had a broader plane for black America, which he referred to in the interview as a ‘manifesto.’
On the topic of drugs, Charlamagne the God asked Biden why he supported decriminalization of marijuana, but not full legalization.
‘Because they’re trying to find out whether or not there’s any impact on the use of marijuana, not in leading you to othet drugs, but does it effect longterm development of the brain,’ Biden answered. ‘And we should wait until the studies are done.’
‘I think science matters,’ the presumptive Democratic nominee added.
Charlamagne tha God also brought up the veepstakes, pointing to the CBS News story that broke Thursday, which said the Biden team was vetting Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former 2020 candidate who is white.
‘A lot of people on social media, they’re not too happy about that because they want your running mate to be a black woman,’ Charlamagne tha God told the candidate.
‘And black people saved your political life in the primary this year,’ he added.
Biden had performed badly in both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. He came in a weak second to Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses, but his campaign’s hopes completely turned around after he was endorsed by Rep. Jim Clyburn, the most powerful black lawmaker on Capitol Hill, and easily won South Carolina’s primary.
While Biden has agreed to picking a female VP, he has not committed to choosing a woman of color.
‘What I’m saying to them is I’m not acknowledging anybody who’s being considered, but I guarantee you there are multiple black women being considered, multiple,’ Biden said.
As soon as the interview was released Friday morning, the Biden campaign started playing clean-up, while President Trump’s campaign came out kicking.
Symone Sanders, a prominent black Biden campaign adviser, tweeted out that the former vice president was indeed kidding.
‘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,’ Sanders said.
The Trump campaign quickly deployed two black surrogates to address the matter: Katrina Pierson and Sen. Tim Scott.
On Fox Business Network Friday morning, Scott said ‘that is the most arrogant, condescending comment I have heard in a long time.’
Pierson sent out a statement from the Trump campaign blasting ‘white liberal elites’ for their treatment of black Americans.
‘He truly believes that he, a 77-year-old white man, should dictate how Black people should behave,’ she said of Biden.
The duo then hopped on a conference call with reporters and said they found the Biden campaign’s explanation for the gaffe laughable.
‘I won’t even dignify that with a response,’ Scott replied when a reporter informed him of Sanders saying Biden’s comment was ‘in jest.’
‘The jest is the joke, right? Obviously it wasn’t in jest, he was serious,’ added Pierson, who slammed Biden for having a history of saying ‘dehumanizing things when it comes to black Americans.’