Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.”
In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.”
“I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.”
Photo: The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 / Reuters
Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a radio program that is popular in the black community.
“None of us can afford for the party or for this campaign to mess this election up, and comments like these are the kinds that frankly either make black voters feel like we’re not really valued and people don’t care if we show up or not,” said Alicia Garza, a Black Lives Matter cofounder and principal of Black Futures Lab.
Near the end of Biden’s appearance on the radio program, host Charlamagne Tha God pressed him on reports that he is considering Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar to be his vice presidential running mate.
Tha God told Biden that black voters “saved your political life in the primaries” and “have things they want from you,” an apparent call for him to choose an African American running mate instead.
“I guarantee you there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple,” Biden said.
A Biden aide then sought to end the interview, prompting the host to say: “You can’t do that to black media.”
“I do that to black media and white media,” Biden said, adding that 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.”
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said he was “shocked and surprised” by Biden’s remarks.
“I was struck by the condescension and the arrogance in his comments,” Scott said in a conference call arranged by the Trump re-election 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.”
Tha God later said on CNN: “A black woman running mate is necessary, especially after today.”
He added that the question of “what makes somebody black” is a discussion for black people, not for “a white man.”
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