Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s conversation with The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne tha God on Friday ended on a controversial note, which has sparked a backlash on social media, Breitbart reported.
“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or for Donald Trump, then you ain’t black,” Biden said after Charlamagne pushed him to answer more questions at the conclusion of the interview.
The comment has fueled pushback from both Republicans and Democrats and driven #JoeBidenIsARacist and #YouAintBlack into the trends on Twitter.
“It’s time to admit that #JoeBidenIsARacist, and we shouldn’t be replacing one racist with another one. #YouAintBlack,” wrote Congressional candidate Salem Snow.
“Joe Biden’s comments demonstrate how Democrats take Black votes for granted,” wrote Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill. “It’s sad how often Democratic candidates become indignant when asked about an actual Black agenda. His response, whatever his intention, was reflective of a broader and deeper problem.”
“You’re not entitled to black support, Joe,” Democratic Rep. Vernon Jones tweeted. “You haven’t even earned it.”
— Diddy (@Diddy) May 22, 2020
As reported by The Guardian, Black Voices For Trump responded to the comment and accused Biden of having a “history of racial condescension.” The group also claimed that Biden’s remarks prove that he does not deserve the votes of African Americans.
Per The Hill, Symone Sanders, an adviser to the Biden campaign, defended Biden’s comments and claimed that they were made in “jest.” The point of the joke, she said, was to highlight his confidence in putting his record with African Americans against that of the president.
Biden has previously faced criticism for his comments on race and role in working with senators who supported segregation. Charlamagne also pressed the former vice president on his support for crime bills in the 1980s and 1990s that have been criticized for their role in incarcerating black Americans. In defense, Biden claimed that mass incarceration was driven by legislation that he opposed, such as mandatory minimum sentences.
Biden also highlighted his positive record on race — including his part in extending the Voting Rights Act — as well as his long history of endorsements from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Support from black Americans will play a crucial role in the November election. While Biden performs well with this demographic, Trump is supposedly focusing on gaining support through criminal justice reform, school choice, and investing in lifelines for African American communities. According to CNN’s Van Jones, this focus runs parallel to a hardline approach against Latino immigration.