In response to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's remark that you are not Black if you don't support him over Trump, Black Entertainment Television (BET) co-founder Robert Johnson said Biden was "out of touch," "paternalistic," and should spend the rest of his campaign "apologizing to every Black person he meets."
During a May 22 interview on The Breakfast Club, Biden said, “I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black."
Biden's condescending comment sparked a lot of controversy. BET co-founder Robert Johnson, who is Black, told the Fox News, "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."
"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," said Johnson.
"He should spend the rest of his campaign apologizing to every Black person he meets," added Johnson.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said Biden's comment was the “most arrogant, condescending comment I've heard in a very long time, and that's saying something. The man who sponsored and led the charge on the 1990s crime bill that locked up more African-American males than any other piece of legislation."
Scott continued, "And President Trump comes along and through his criminal justice reform corrects the absolute mistakes made by Joe Biden. For him to make such an arrogant, ridiculous comment -- if you think about the numbers, 1.3 million African-Americans voted for Trump. He’s saying to 1.3 million African-Americans that you are not black?"
"Who in the heck does he think he is?" said Scott. "That is the most arrogant, outrageous comment that I’ve heard in a very long time and I take offense to that.”
As the controversy erupted on Friday, especially on social media, Biden's senior campaign adviser Simone D. Sanders tweeted, "The comments made at the end of the Breakfast Club interview were in jest, but let’s be clear about what the VP was saying: he was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day."
Joe Biden also started to walk back his remarks. Late on Friday, he said, "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."
"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," said Biden, 77, who worked in the federal government from 1973 to January 2017, some 43-plus years.