Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s interview Friday with popular African-American commentator and radio host Charlamagne tha God has gone viral, inspiring a flood of reports and social media posts on the “contentious” exchange, particularly focused on Biden’s declaration at the end of the interview that “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Biden’s interview on “The Breakfast Club” began and ended in tense exchanges. Host Charlamagne welcomed Biden on by telling him bluntly, “You know, I’ve been critical of you.” A comment to which Biden responded, “I know you have. You don’t know me.” While Charlamagne allowed Biden to hold court for most of the interview, repeating his talking points about Trump’s COVID-19 response and his success in winning black support in past elections and primaries, things got notably tense again when Charlamagne asked Biden about his potential running mate near the end of the interview.
Citing reports that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is being vetted for the role, Charlamagne noted that a lot of people in the black community are “not too happy” about the development because they want an African-American woman on the ticket. Stressing that Biden has relied on the black vote to get him where he is, Charlamagne asked the candidate what he would say to the black community about their VP complaint.
“What I say to them is that I’m not acknowledging anybody who is being considered, but I guarantee you there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple,” Biden insisted.
After being informed by a Biden aide that the interview needed to wrap up, Charlamagne said, “Listen, you’ve got to come see us when you come to New York, VP Biden. It’s a long way until November. We’ve got more questions–”
“You’ve got more questions?” Biden responded in apparent frustration. “Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
“It don’t have nothing to do with Trump,” Charlamagne fired back. “It has to do with the fact I want something for my community. I would love to see…”
“Take a look at my record, man!” Biden exclaimed. “I extended the Voting Right Act 25 years. I have a record that is second-to-none. The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run. I mean, come on. Take a look at the record.”
This morning @Cthagod sat down with Democratic Presidential Nominee @JoeBiden to talk about a few things including his plan for African American communities in America, if he will be choosing a black female running mate + more!??
Watch here: https://t.co/AUYaQhSX9h
— The Breakfast Club (@breakfastclubam) May 22, 2020
After posting video of the interview, “The Breakfast Club” created a poll based on Biden’s racially inflammatory line:
#joebiden said “If you have a problem figuring out if you are for him or Trump.. you ain’t black” Do you agree ??
— The Breakfast Club (@breakfastclubam) May 22, 2020
Multiple outlets have reported on the exchange, among them Politico, The Detroit News, USA Today, The Hill, CBS News, Axios, Fox News, National Review, and the New York Post — and in none of the coverage does Biden come off looking good in the “contentious” interview. A few excerpts:
- From Politico: “Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday emphatically defended his ties to the African American community — telling a popular black radio personality that he ‘ain’t black’ if he was still weighing whether to support Biden or President Donald Trump in November’s general election.”
- From The Detroit News: “Biden: If you can’t choose me over Trump, ‘you ain’t black’”
- From USA Today: “Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, in a testy exchange Friday with African American radio host Charlamagne tha God, said “you ain’t black” if you’re struggling to decide whether to back him or President Donald Trump.”
- From CBS News: “Joe Biden defended his legislative record in an often contentious Friday morning interview with Charlamagne The God, the host of the popular radio show ‘The Breakfast Club,’ and argued that his presidential campaign was doing enough to reach out to black voters. At one point, Biden argued that black voters undecided on whether to vote for him or for President Trump ‘ain’t black.’”
- From Fox News: “Joe Biden faced a swift backlash on Friday for suggesting during a contentious radio interview with host Charlamagne tha God that those having a hard time ‘figuring out’ whether to support him or President Trump ‘ain’t black.’”
- From National Review: “Joe Biden said in a Friday interview that a black voter who can’t decide between him and President Trump in the 2020 elections isn’t really black.”
Backlash on social media has come swift and fierce, with clips of the final exchange going viral. Trump’s campaign, of course, is particularly hammering it hard. A few examples of responses below:
Based on @JoeBiden's racist & dehumanizing comments today, I know he thinks he knows more about being black (despite being on the wrong side of every issue that matters to the black community throughout his whole career) than @TimScottSC, but you may want to give this a listen. https://t.co/ItVCWCNazm
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 22, 2020
If @realDonaldTrump said this there would be riots in the street. I held picket signs and protested segregation, while Joe Biden fought for it. I will proudly support Trump, let's see him tell me to my face I'm not black.
— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) May 22, 2020
"If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."
Oh really, Joe.
— Lawrence B. Jones III (@LawrenceBJones3) May 22, 2020
Amazing how this guy has no idea what the hell he's taking about, or even what's going on, most of the time. But, when dementia sets in, people resort to their true nature. And, by nature he is a racist!
— Michael Slansky (@emes921) May 22, 2020
Wild and inappropriate… like insulting, actually.
— RAM ? (@sheisrachelle) May 22, 2020
see this is the reason why people are discouraged to even vote right now…wtf? pic.twitter.com/BGEHavDSVN
— ✨✨Tee✨✨ (@TershyKisses) May 22, 2020
It's racist, and I bet Biden's team is having a meltdown over this.
— Author Christina L. Barr @ Ninja Dust (@ninjadustpub) May 22, 2020