Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden was being skewered by black Americans and others online Friday after he suggested in an interview with a prominent black New York City radio host that if he struggled to vote for him over President Donald Trump he “ain’t black.”
The testy exchange came when Charlamagne Tha God, co-host of the popular “The Breakfast Club” radio show on New York City’s Power 105.1, questioned Biden about reports that he was considering Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is white, to be his vice president even though his campaign was saved by loyal black women voters from the south.
“I don’t know if you saw the op-ed in The Washington Post by some of the leading black women voices in the country and they feel since black women are such a loyal voting bloc and black people saved your political life in the primaries this year. They have things they want from you and one of them is a black woman running mate. What do you say to them?” Charlamagne Tha God asked.
“What I say to them is that I’m not acknowledging anybody who is being considered but I guarantee you, there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple," he said, before he was interrupted by a handler for a second time during the interview telling him they had to wrap up.
The host protested the abrupt ending and quipped, “you can’t do that to black media.”
Biden responded that he couldn’t do it to white or black media but he needed to leave so his wife could make an appointment.
The former vice president’s comments then came after Charlamagne Tha God urged him to visit the show’s studio in New York City for a sit down interview because “it’s a long way until November” and “we got more questions.”
“You got more questions but I tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump you ain’t black,” Biden shot back.
The radio host then tried to explain to him that the questions he wanted to ask had nothing to do with Trump but his (Biden's) agenda for African Americans.
“It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact that I want something for my community. I would love to see...” Charlamagne Tha God said before he was quickly cut off by Biden.
“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 run. I mean, come on. Take a look at the record,” Biden insisted.
As the interview and clips of it made the rounds on social media, Biden's comments drew rebuke from African Americans across the political spectrum and others including Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
“1.3 million black Americans already voted for Trump in 2016. This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we ‘ain’t black.’ I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree,” he wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
“I woke up to news this morning that apparently, ‘I ain’t black’ @JoeBiden - who are you, to tell 1+ million black Americans who voted for @realDonaldTrump, that we aren’t black?” added Vernon Jones, a black Republican state representative from Georgia, on Twitter.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also slammed Biden’s comments as “truly offensive.”
“The comments from @JoeBiden 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 wrote in a statement on Twitter.
In a Twitter poll by The Breakfast Club that had more than 30,000 respondents as of Friday morning nearly 90% disagreed with the former vice president’s comments.
Symone Sanders, a senior campaign advisor to Joe Biden’s campaign, said in a statement Friday that Biden was only joking.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter.