Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE said Friday that he regrets telling radio host Charlamagne Tha God earlier in the day that if you support President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE “then you ain’t black.”
Speaking on a call with black business leaders, Biden described the remarks as “cavalier” and said he never meant to seem as if he was taking black voters for granted or telling them who they ought to support.
“I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier,” Biden said.
“I don’t take it for granted at all and no one should have to vote for any party based on their race, religion or background. There are African Americans who think Trump is worth voting for. I don’t think so and I’m prepared to put my record against his, that was the bottom line and it was really unfortunate, I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.”
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee sparked a firestorm of controversy on the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club” after Charlamagne said he wanted to continue discussing issues impacting the black community at a later point.
“You’ve got more questions?” Biden replied. “Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Republicans, and even some Democratic leaders, blasted the remarks, accusing Biden of lecturing black people on how to think and of questioning the racial authenticity of black voters.
Biden spokeswoman Symone SandersSymone SandersThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden seeks to tamp down controversy over remarks about black support African American figures slam Biden on ‘you ain’t black’ comments Biden regrets remarks about black support: ‘I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy’ MORE initially defended the remarks, saying they were “made in jest” and pointing to Biden’s strong support from the black voters who delivered him resounding victories in the Democratic presidential primary.
But the remarks became a sensation on social media and pressure grew on Biden to address them as criticism piled up.
Patrick Gaspard, a former top aide in the Obama administration, said Biden “is in no position” to “determine who is black enough or not.”
Musician Diddy addressed Biden over Twitter, telling him that the “black vote ain’t free.”
Black Republicans, such as Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHouse Republicans hopeful about bipartisan path forward on police reform legislation Rand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill MORE (S.C.) and businessman John James, who is running for the Senate in Michigan, ripped Biden.
Scott said it’s “par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree.”
“I have the right to think and vote for myself along with all other Americans, including black Americans,” James said.
And the Trump campaign described the remarks as “racist” and “dehumanizing.”
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“White liberal elitists have continuously dictated which black Americans are allowed to come to the table and have a voice,” said Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign and leader of its Black Voices for Trump group.