In Contentious Interview, Biden Says Black Voters Considering Trump Over Him 'Ain't Black'

Friday, May 22nd 2020, 9:56 am
By: 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."

When Charlamagne asked him about comments from the rapper Sean Combs, who performs as Diddy, that Democrats take black voters for granted, Biden noted that he had won overwhelmingly in the South Carolina primary.

"I kicked everybody's — excuse me," Biden said, catching himself before he cursed.

"I need you to say that!" Charlamagne replied.

"I won every single county. I won the largest share of the black vote that anybody had, including Barack," Biden continued, noting that his home state of Delaware has the eighth largest black population in the country. "They're the folks that, as they say up my way, brung me to the dance. That's how I get elected every single time."

Biden also defended his support for the 1994 crime bill which implemented harsher penalties for minor drug offenses, and which exacerbated mass incarceration, affecting poor black communities in particular.

"The crime bill didn't increase mass incarceration, other things increased mass incarceration," Biden argued, noting that the Congressional Black Caucus at the time supported the bill.

Biden cited the "three strikes" rules and the mandatory sentences as something that President Clinton supported and he "opposed." Criminal justice experts have found that the bill both decreased crime and increased incarceration rates.

The presumptive Democratic nominee also offered that "no one should go to jail" for a drug crime, "particularly marijuana," and said he favors treatment over imprisonment.

"No one should be going to jail for a drug crime. Period," Biden said. When asked by Charlamagne why he supported decriminalizing marijuana instead of legalizing it outright, Biden said it was because there are ongoing studies on the long-term impact of marijuana use on the brain.

"I know a lot of weed smokers," Biden said.

Biden also "guaranteed" that he was considering a black woman to serve as his vice president. CBS News reported that Biden is vetting Amy Klobuchar, who is white, as a potential vice presidential pick. She is one of several contenders being scrutinized for the job by Biden aides.

"I guarantee you, there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple," Biden said.

Towards the end of the interview, a Biden staffer interrupted to say that the vice president was out of time.

"You can't do that to black media!" Charlamagne said.

"I do that to white media and black media," Biden replied. He promised to visit Charlamagne in New York and appear on "The Breakfast Club" again to answer more questions.

"If you have a problem figuring out if you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black," Biden said.

"It don't have nothing to do with Trump — it has to do with the fact that I want something for my community," Charlamagne countered. Biden replied that he should take a look at his voting record to see his longtime support for the black community.

"The Breakfast Club" has become a popular venue for politicians looking to reach out to black listeners. Biden has recently appeared on other shows which cater primarily to a black audience, such as the show "Desus & Mero" on Showtime.