Republicans were patting themselves on their backs for taking advantage of a comment that Joe Biden apologized for. The Grand Old Party apparently couldn’t have been any prouder after it moved quickly to try to monetize the former vice president’s off-handed quip to radio host Charlamagne Tha God about Black voters.
In case you somehow missed it, Biden was being interviewed Friday morning on The Breakfast Club radio show and added to his growing list of infamous gaffes. Only this gaffe was of the racial nature (racist?), separating it from the others and reigniting the debate over Biden’s history with Black people.
After getting pushback from Charlamagne over answers to a line of questioning centered on Black America, Biden seemed to almost resent the implication that his so-called “Black card” of credibility with African Americans was being challenged.
“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump then you ain’t black!” he blurted out as the interview abruptly ended.
It was unclear if he was addressing Charlamagne or Black voters as a collective, but either way the damage was done — and fast.
Media outlets quickly picked up Biden’s comments and rightfully parsed the words that seemed to generalize all Black people as a monolith as spoken by a man who is poised to become the next president of the United States. Biden later apologized for being “such a wise guy” and said the comment was uttered in jest.
“I should not have been so cavalier,” he reportedly said. “I’ve never, never, ever taken the African American community for granted.”
But by that point, it was too late.
Republicans had already pounced, as noted by a congratulatory email reportedly sent by the president’s campaign manager to the staff who he said did “Good work” by exploiting “a mistake by Joe Biden.” Brad Parscale even linked to a website selling t-shirts related to the controversy.
As it turns out, clicking on that link leads users to a website with the shameless domain name, “youaintblack.com.” Parscale tweeted about it in an effort to push the debatable narrative that “Biden thinks he owns the Black vote and that he can dictate what Black people do.”
Likewise, Katrina Pierson, a villainous senior advisor for Trump’s campaign and a leader in the borderline irrelevant Black Voices for Trump group, rejoiced in a statement about Biden’s comments. Ironically, her statement generalized Black folks the same way Biden’s comments were accused of doing by declaring to Black Americans in the statement that “Joe Biden does not deserve our votes.”
Biden’s interview seemed more like an effort to reinforce his ties to the Black community than him trying to snub his nose at Black people who have been demanding more from him. Biden was loose and free with Charlamagne throughout the entire interview that the radio host told him in advance would be centered on Black people. The two were exchanging some playful banter about a return appearance to the show when Biden inexplicably said his famous last words.
But — and this is a big but — the fact still remains that Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee who is trying to get Trump out of the White House, something that polling has shown the lion share of Black people also want to see happen. All of which means that Biden’s comments will likely turn out to be — to borrow language from Republicans downplaying Russian collusion — one big nothing burger that won’t change how voters cast ballots in November.