African American figures slam Biden on 'you ain't black' comments

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE came under scrutiny from both ends of the political spectrum Friday for saying that if you support President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE “then you ain’t black.”

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee made the remark to host Charlamagne Tha God on the popular radio show "The Breakfast Club" earlier in the day.

Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign and leader of its Black Voices for Trump group, was one of the first to weigh in.


“White liberal elitists have continuously dictated which black Americans are allowed to come to the table and have a voice,” she said.

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain Black Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Scott: 'Lot of work left' in police reform talks MORE of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, noted that 1.3 million black people voted for Trump in the 2016 general election.

“This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we ‘ain’t black,’ ” Scott tweeted. “I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree.”


GOP Senate candidate John James blasted the remark as "pathetic" and "hurtful," saying in a video posted on Twitter: "You're embarrassing yourself, Mr. Vice President."

Biden later said he regretted making the comment.

“I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier,” he said on call with black business leaders.

In a statement to Mediate, Charlamagne pointed to a response he gave Biden during the interview, where he said: “It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact that I want something for my community.”

Biden polls well among black voters, much like other Democratic presidential nominees in previous elections, and the interview on “The Breakfast Club” included a discussion about whether the Democratic Party was taking that support for granted, especially since many younger black voters voted for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Democratic tensions will only get worse as left loses patience McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats Socially-distanced 'action figure' photo of G7 leaders goes viral MORE (I-Vt.) during the presidential primary before he dropped out.

Some progressives seized on Biden's remarks, saying establishment Democrats have a tendency to expect support from minority voters but don't fight for the issues they care about.

“This is the natural consequence of the reductive view of race & politics being pushed by the ‘identity is destiny’ crowd,” tweeted Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’s former campaign press secretary and staunch critic of Biden.


Biden adviser Symone SandersSymone SandersWhite House 'looking into' woman claiming to be reporter at Harris press conference Harris's plane forced to return to Andrews after 'technical issue' Biden, Harris to break out of COVID-19 'bubble' with international trips MORE, who said the former vice president’s comments were made in “jest,” sparked criticism from writer Roxane Gay.

“He doesn’t get to ‘jest’ like that,” Gay tweeted. “It wasn’t funny. It played into the long standing notion that the black vote is uncritical and guaranteed and the notion that blackness is mutable and defined by whiteness.”


Biden's comments even drew ire from the likes of rapper Diddy, who said black voters are not guaranteed to turn out on Nov. 3 in support of Biden.

"Aye bruh @JoeBiden I already told you the #BlackVoteAintFree," he tweeted. 

Updated at 4:53 p.m.