Bi­den says ‘ain’t black’ com­ment was a quip

Vancouver Sun - - WORLD - COLBY ITKOWITZ AND MATT VISER

For­mer vice-pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, the pre­sump­tive Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, sug­gested Fri­day that any black voter who is un­de­cided be­tween him­self and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump “ain’t black.”

The re­mark came dur­ing a con­tentious in­ter­view on the pop­u­lar black ra­dio show The Break­fast Club, in which Bi­den was pressed to de­fend his record on is­sues af­fect­ing black com­mu­ni­ties.

The Trump cam­paign and its al­lies seized on the com­ment, call­ing it “racist” and ev­i­dence that Bi­den hasn’t earned the black vote.

The ex­change oc­curred af­ter a Bi­den staffer at­tempted to cut off the in­ter­view and host Char­la­m­agne tha God said, “You can’t do that to black me­dia.” He then told Bi­den he needed to come back on the show be­fore Novem­ber be­cause they had more ques­tions.

“You got more ques­tions, but I’ll tell you if you have a prob­lem fig­ur­ing out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Bi­den said.

“It don’t have noth­ing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact — I want some­thing for my com­mu­nity,” Char­la­m­agne said.

The back­lash was swift and the Bi­den cam­paign quickly de­fended the re­mark as an un­se­ri­ous quip.

“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,” said se­nior cam­paign ad­viser Sy­mone San­ders, who is also black.

The Trump cam­paign sched­uled a press call later in the day with black se­nior cam­paign ad­viser Ka­t­rina Pier­son and the Repub­li­can’s sole black U.S. sen­a­tor, Tim Scott of South Carolina.

“It is clear now more than ever, fol­low­ing these racist and de­hu­man­iz­ing re­marks, that Joe Bi­den be­lieves black men and women are in­ca­pable of be­ing in­de­pen­dent or free think­ing. He truly be­lieves that he, a 77-year-old white man, should dic­tate how black peo­ple should be­have,” Pier­son said.

In a tweet, Scott ac­cused Bi­den of telling the 1.3 mil­lion black Amer­i­cans who voted for Trump in 2016 that they aren’t re­ally black.

The Trump cam­paign is ea­ger to peel off black vot­ers from the Democrats who have long en­joyed them as a loyal and con­sis­tent vot­ing bloc. Trump’s main pitch has been an at­tempt to con­vince them that Democrats don’t ap­pre­ci­ate their long-stand­ing sup­port.

Joe Bi­den

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