BET co-founder Robert L. Johnson had a blistering reaction to Joe Biden’s remarks that have sparked accusations of racism regarding how black Americans vote in the upcoming election.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee raised eyebrows during an interview with Charlamagne tha God on the radio show “The Breakfast Club” as he defended his record with the black community.
“I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Biden said.
Johnson slammed the former vice president and suggested he apologize to “every black person he meets.”
“Vice President Biden’s statement today represents the arrogant and out-of-touch attitude of a paternalistic white candidate who has the audacity to tell Black people, the descendants of slaves, that they are not Black unless they vote for him,” Johnson told Fox News. “This proves unequivocally that the Democratic nominee believes that Black people owe him their vote without question; even though, we as Black people know it is exactly the opposite. He should spend the rest of his campaign apologizing to every Black person he meets.”
Later Friday, Biden walked back those remarks during a conversation with black business leaders, stopping short of a full apology.
“I’ve never ever taken the African-American community for granted, had their support … I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier,” Biden said. “I don’t take it for granted at all, and no one, no one should have to vote for any party, based on their race or religion or background.”
This walk back is a shift from what the statement Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders issued earlier in the day, insisting that Biden’s remarks were “in jest.”
Vice President Biden spent his career fighting alongside and for the African American community. He won his party's nomination by earning every vote and meeting people where they are and that's exactly what he intends to do this November. 1/
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) May 22, 2020
Biden’s remarks sparked condemnation from the Trump campaign, Republican lawmakers, and supporters of his former primary competitor Sen. Bernie Sanders.
However, it’s unclear whether some prominent black groups will weigh in on the controversy. Fox News has reached out to the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus for comment.
Fox News’ Bret Baier, Paul Steinhauser, Madeleine Rivera, Allie Raffa, Marisa Schultz, and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.
Author: Joseph A. Wulfsohn