The truth behind Biden’s ‘you ain’t black’ gaffe

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Joe Biden recently appeared on the popular African American radio show “The Breakfast Club” with radio host Charlamagne tha God. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” 

Oh boy. 

The backlash came fast and fierce from all sides. Democrats said Biden’s “poor choice of words” made them “cringe.”

Remarkably, the fastest and fiercest criticisms came from Republicans, who are all in line for Oscar nominations after feigning offense, disgust and disbelief that anyone could have uttered such insulting words. 

Nikki Haley, President Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted, “I have struggled with Biden’s recent remarks. They were gut wrenchingly condescending…” 

Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the lone black Republican in the Senate, said on Fox Business, “That is the most condescending and arrogant comment I’ve heard in a very long time.” 

The Trump campaign tried to capitalize on Biden’s unfortunate comment to court African American voters. The campaign produced videos and events that kept Biden’s clip on a loop; they sold T-Shirts with the hashtag “#YouAintBlack”; they interviewed African American Trump supporters who kept up the façade of shock and disbelief at Biden’s words. 

But there are two irrefutable facts from which even the fiercest Trump supporters cannot escape when it comes to race and the 2020 election.

One is that Trump has a long history of trafficking in racism and xenophobia and has done little to elevate, respect or help the African American community (except ride President Obama’s wave of economic revitalization for the black community and claim it as his own).

The other inescapable fact is that the larger point Biden was driving at in his comment was spot on. How can Trump supporters claim to be offended by Biden’s remarks while giving so many free passes to Trump?

Trump called for the death penalty for five wrongly convicted black men, and refused to apologize for it; he championed conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s birth place and citizenship; he said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally attended by white supremacists; he called Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals”; he put brown babies in cages; and he recently retweeted racist accounts.

The hypocrisy and the fake outrage could not be more obvious or insulting.

Minorities who vote for Trump are voting against their own self-interests, as well as those of the communities they come from. They seem to be blind to the reality of the damage and destruction that this president has done to all minority communities — not just African Americans, but all people of color, LGBTQ Americans and many more.

Trump enforced a policy to separate immigrant children from their families at the border and made it more difficult for immigrants to become citizens or be granted asylum or refugee status. He tried to repeal ObamaCare, supported the closure of women’s health clinics in low-income areas and made it harder to buy a first-time house, go to college, pay off student loans and become a citizen. These are just some of the policies Trump has implemented that work against minority communities. 

So, to those who are suffering from intellectual dishonesty as they blast Biden and defend Trump, please spare America the fake disdain and feigned outrage. 

Maria Cardona is a longtime Democratic strategist and co-chair of the Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee for the party’s 2020 convention. She is a principal at Dewey Square Group, a Washington-based political consulting agency, and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.

Tags 2020 presidential campaign 2020 presidential election Barack Obama Donald Trump Joe Biden Joe Biden Nikki Haley Tim Scott Trump

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