Biden apologizes for being a ‘wise guy’ over racial comment

Associated Press
Fri, 22 May 2020 16:36:40 GMT

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ATLANTA — Joe Biden declared he “should not have been so cavalier” on Friday after he told a prominent black radio host that African-Americans who back President Trump “ain’t black.”

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee moved to address the fallout from his remark, which was interpreted by some as presuming black Americans would vote for him.

In a call with the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Mr. Biden said he would never “take the African-American community for granted.”

“I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Mr. Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.”

That was an acknowledgement of stinging criticism he received in response to his comments, which he made earlier in the day on the Breakfast Club, a radio program.

Near the end of Mr. Biden’s appearance on the show, host Charlamagne Tha God pressed him on reports that he is considering Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is white, to be his vice presidential running mate.

The host told Mr. Biden that black voters “saved your political life in the primaries” and “have things they want from you.”

“I guarantee you there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple,” Mr. 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,” Mr. Biden said, noting that his wife needed to use the television studio. “If you’ve got a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or for Trump, then you ain’t black.”

The Trump campaign’s allies seized on the comments.

Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.), a Trump supporter and the Senate’s only black Republican, said he was “shocked and surprised” by Mr. Biden’s remarks.

“I was struck by the condescension and the arrogance in his comments,” he said.

Charlamagne Tha God later said on CNN, “A black woman running mate is necessary, especially after today.”

He said “what makes somebody black” is a discussion for black people, not for “a white man.”