Joe Biden faces backlash for suggesting during an interview with host Charlamagne tha God that those having a hard time ‘figuring out’ whether to support him or Trump ‘ain’t black;’ Fox News contributor Karl Rove reacts.
Trump 2020 senior adviser Katrina Pierson said that Biden’s comments were “racist and dehumanizing.” The Trump campaign also released a statement from “Black Voices for Trump” that slammed “Joe Biden’s racist remarks.”
“He truly believes that he, a 77-year-old white man, should dictate how Black people should behave,” Pierson said in a statement.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee made the comments during an interview with Charlamagne tha God on the radio show “The Breakfast Club” as he defended his record with the black community.
“I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Biden said.
After the interview, Charlamagne tha God retweeted criticism of Biden. The Breakfast Club’s Twitter account also put up a poll asking followers if they agree with Biden’s comments — and out of nearly 40,000 votes, 89.6 percent of respondents disagreed with the remarks.
The “you ain’t black” comment also reverberated on social media, igniting blowback from black Republicans.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said such “arrogant and condescending” comments are not surprising considering Biden’s record in “sponsoring a crime bill in the 1990s that jailed more African-American males than any other legislation.” He called it the “most arrogant, outrageous comment that I’ve heard in a very long time.”
“And President Trump comes along, and through his criminal justice reform, corrects the absolute mistakes made by Joe Biden; 1.3 million African-Americans voted for Trump,” Scott said. “He’s saying to 1.3 million African-Americans that you are not black? Who in the heck does he think he is? That is the most arrogant, outrageous comment that I’ve heard in a very long time and I take offense to that.”
In a Trump campaign conference call, Scott also voiced his offense to the comments: “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,” he said. “This is the type of negative, race-baiting rhetoric that is the lowest denominator in this nation and it’s got to stop.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that Biden’s comments were “truly offensive but a rare and honest insight into liberals’ thinking.”
“Liberals believe you really can’t be black, Latino, female, or intelligent unless you support their liberal agenda,” he said.
Trump 2020 senior adviser Lara Trump asked what would happen if President Trump made similar remarks.
“WHAT IF DONALD TRUMP HAD SAID THIS? Will Joe Biden get a pass on this??? I had to watch 3 times to make sure I actually heard what he said,” she wrote.
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh spotlighted a quote from Kanye West, a prominent African-American supporter of the president, saying, “I will not be told who I’m gonna vote on because of my color.”
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said Biden’s remarks were the “height of elitist Democrat arrogance.”
“Only one candidate has improved the lives of black Americans: Donald J. Trump,” Parscale continued. “Only one candidate in this race favors mass incarceration, including for minor offenses: Sleepy Joe Biden.”
“This, ladies and gentlemen, is why they very rarely let Joe Biden do anything that isn’t completely controlled and scripted,” Murtaugh said. “Sometimes he accidentally says what he thinks.”
In a later tweet, he added: “Joe Biden is an existential threat to the @JoeBiden campaign.”
But Biden campaign adviser Symone Sanders defended the comments, stressing Biden’s record with the black community and saying: “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.”
Biden has enjoyed widespread support among black voters, not just in general election polls – Fox News polling shows black voters favor Biden over Trump by 76-12 percent – but during the primary battle. His victory in the South Carolina primary, boosted by black voters’ support, helped revive his then-struggling campaign and catapult him toward a dominating performance on Super Tuesday.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.