Joe Biden has apologized for questioning the blackness of a black radio host, saying he “shouldn’t have been such a wiseguy.” His earlier remarks caused an outcry, but the former VP’s supporters were already covering for him.
In a radio interview with ‘The Breakfast Club’ host Charlamagne Tha God on Friday morning, Biden appeared agitated. After Charlamagne pressed him on a list of racial issues, he asked Biden to return for another questioning before November, saying “we’ve got more questions.”
Biden, having evidently reached the end of his tether, snapped. “You’ve got more questions?” he jibed. “Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
The exchange triggered an outcry online, with droves of black Democrats piling on the former vice president. Biden resurfaced on Friday afternoon to apologize. Joining a conference call of black business leaders, he said he “should not have been so cavalier,” adding “I’ve never, never, ever taken the African American community for granted.”
“I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” he reiterated. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race, their religion, their background.”
Before Biden apologized, he already had a host of allies in the media explaining away his racial snafu. Plenty of commentators were gobsmacked by his “you ain’t black” outburst, but over at the Washington Post, columnist Jonathan Capehart explained away what Biden said as “clearly a joke.”
Capehart didn’t exactly provide evidence for his claim, but repeated Biden’s previous assertions on his work for the black community to invalidate his outburst.
Likewise, Biden adviser Symone Sanders, who is black, called the remark “in jest,” and again referred back to her boss’ record on black issues.
Biden’s apology, however, didn’t win everyone over. “VP Biden’s statement today represents the arrogant and out-of-touch attitude of a paternalistic white candidate,” Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson said. “He should spend the rest of his campaign apologizing to every Black person he meets.”
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