During a Tuesday interview on The View, James Clyburn, the third-highest ranked Democrat in the House, touched on presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's recent comment that suggested Donald Trump supporters "ain't black."
"I cringed, no question about that," Clyburn said, as quoted by The Hill. "In this instance, Joe did not do as well as I had hoped in responding, but I will say this: I go about my business every day comparing Joe Biden to the alternative — not the almighty."
Clyburn noted, however, that neither Biden nor any other person is perfect and doubled down on his support of the former vice president.
"I've done a lot of stuff for Joe Biden over the years and I would not have supported him if I did not think he was best suited to be the next president of the United States."The 79-year-old South Carolina politician also touched on his relationship with The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg and instances where the pair had "misspoken" to each other.
"We sometimes say things we do not really mean," he said, referring to Biden's remark.
Many perceive Clyburn as one of the primary factors behind Biden's success in the primary, which was fueled mainly by the turnout of African American voters in South Carolina. This comeback was followed by the exit of Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar — allegedly driven by Barack Obama — and a massive win on Super Tuesday.Biden made his controversial comment while speaking to The Breakfast Club's Charlamagne tha God. Although the former vice president later walked back the remark, Fox News reported that it created a "media firestorm" that included criticism from both sides of the aisle. As for Charlamagne, he suggested that Biden's best path forward is to create a black agenda to repay the support from black voters that made his comeback possible. The radio host also urged the Democratic Party to take on the burden of showing up for black voters as opposed to putting the onus on African Americans.
While Clyburn remains supportive of Biden, others have been more critical of the former vice president's words, suggesting it's reflective of a more significant problem with the Democratic Party.
In a piece for Current Affairs, Briahna Joy Gray, who was the national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, criticized the Democratic Party's purported "racial essentialism" that assumes a connection between racial identity and political allegiance. According to Gray, Biden's comment exposes the party's unwillingness to acknowledge and engage with the non-racial reasons driving the political choices of people in marginalized groups.