Biden Says He Was 'Cavalier' for Telling Charlamagne Tha God He 'Ain't Black' If He Considers Trump
"I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African-American vote for granted, but nothing could be further from the truth," the former vice president said of the remark criticized as "inappropriate"
Biden Says He Was 'Cavalier' for Telling Charlamagne Tha God He 'Ain't Black' If He Considers Voting for Trump
Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday he "shouldn’t have been so cavalier" during an interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God in which Biden defended his record with the black community and chided the host — in jest, a campaign aide later said — that "if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black."
There, the popular radio show host pressed Biden on some of Biden's past positions, such as his support of the so-called crime bill of 1994 — the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act — which many criminal justice advocates argue encouraged mass incarceration of people of color.
"Vote’s a quid pro quo, right. It’s not like I don’t want to vote," he told Biden. "I just want to know what candidates will do for us and in exchange for our votes."
Biden went on to defend his work — arguing the '94 crime bill did not increase incarceration nationwide, which he said was influenced by other factors, and touting his work with black leaders and their support more broadly.
He also talked about his stance on decriminalizing marijuana, said there were "multiple black women" being considered for his ticket and he pushed back on an idea Charlamagne Tha God put to him that he wasn't offering enough leadership to contrast with Trump during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Responding to what Charlamagne Tha God described as Biden seeming to recede from the spotlight in responding to the coronavirus, Biden said he was following proper social distancing, criticized Trump's approach and pointed to the tens of thousands of people dead, including many in the black community.
But the headline-grabbing moment came at the very end, when the aide again cut in to say that Biden had to end the interview. Biden said it was because his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, needed the same home studio for another appearance.
"It don’t have nothing to do with Trump, it has to do with the fact I want something for my community," Charlamagne Tha God said back.
In a statement, Charlamagne Tha God reportedly said, "Black people have invested a lot into [Democrats] and the return on investment has not been great. ... So let's see what you got. Votes are quid pro quo. You can't possibly want me to fear Trump more than I want something for my people."
On a call Friday with the U.S. Black Chambers, Biden said: "The bottom line of all this is perhaps I was much too cavalier. I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African-American vote for granted. But nothing could be further from the truth. I've never ever done that and I've earned it every time I've run."