Joe Biden Does It Again
[guest post by Dana]
Joe Biden is attempting to clarify some questionable remarks he made yesterday during an interview with NPR’s Garcia Navarro. The Democratic presumptive nominee suggested that the nation’s Black community lacks the diversity of the Hispanic community:
Here is the relevant portion of the interview (I’ve included a longer lead-in than is in the video):
Lulu Garcia-Navarro: (31:30) I have a few questions that I’d just like to get through because they are incredibly important to the Latino community. First of all, you are extending TPS, temporary protected status, to Venezuelans. Cubans though, are now being deported in unprecedented numbers. Would you stop those deportations?
Joe Biden: (31:48) What I said, I’m going to look at every single country in the world that in fact is being… and this guy’s sending them back. The reason why I came up with Venezuela is he not even allowing it to exist in the first place. And so the TPS program is something I will move on the first day I’m in office to make sure that we extend it to people. For too long we didn’t get it right, but here’s the deal. I think that we should be extending it. Anybody can prove that they are in jeopardy to go back to their country and the reason they came in the first place. They should be able to stay in the United States of America until the circumstance changes in our country. And that’s why, by the way, I put that program together to provide… Oh, go ahead. I’m sorry.
Lulu Garcia-Navarro: (32:41) No. No. Are you going to reengage with Cuba though? I mean, I’m specifically wondering about the Florida communities that are incredibly interested in the Cuba issue and see status given to Venezuelans while Cubans are being deported. So will you engage with Cuba?
Joe Biden: (33:03) The answer is yes. Yes. Yes. And by the way, what you all know, but most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things. You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you’re in Arizona. So it’s a very different, a very diverse community.
Before Biden’s attempted clarification, campaign advisor Symone Sanders tried to tamp down any blowback:
If you look at the full video and transcript, it’s clear that Vice President Biden was referring to diversity of attitudes among Latinos from different Latin American countries. The video that is circulating is conveniently cut to make this about racial diversity but that’s not the case.
However, when Biden attempted to clarify his comments, he once again contrasted Latino and Black Americans explicitly on the topic of national and cultural origin:
“We can build a new administration that reflects the full diversity of our nation. The full diversity of the Latino communities,” Biden said. “Now when I mean full diversity, unlike African American community, many other communities, you’re from everywhere. From Europe. From the tip of South America, all the way to our border and Mexico and in the Caribbean. And different backgrounds, different ethnicities, but all Latinos.”
And last night, in a series of tweets, he made further efforts to clean up his mess:
Earlier today, I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify. In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 7, 2020
My commitment to you is this: I will always listen, I will never stop fighting for the African American community and I will never stop fighting for a more equitable future.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 7, 2020
Yesterday’s mishap was preceded by Biden snapping at a Black reporter who asked whether he had taken a cognitive test like President Trump:
Errol Barnett: (37:41) Mr. Vice President, your opponent in this election, President Trump, has made your mental state a campaign topic. And when asked in June, if you’d been tested full cognitive decline, you’ve responded that you’re constantly tested in effect because you’re in situations like this on the campaign trail. But please clarify specifically, have you taken a cognitive test?
Joe Biden: (38:04) No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? Come on man. That’s like saying, “Before you got in this program, if you take a test where you’re taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junky?”
Errol Barnett: (38:17) What do you say to President Trump who brags about his test and makes you a message say an issue for voters?
Joe Biden: (38:27) Well, if he can’t figure out the difference between an elephant and a lion, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Did you watch that? Look, come on, man. I know you’re trying to goad me, but I mean, I’m so forward-looking to have an opportunity to sit with the President or stand with the President in debates. There going to be plenty of time. And by the way, as I joke with him… I shouldn’t say it. I’m going to say something I probably shouldn’t say. Anyway, I am very willing to let the American public judge my physical as well as my mental fitness and to make a judgment about who I am and what state of affairs I have, what kind of physical shape I’m in, what kind of mental shape I’m in.
Of course, Trump seized on the opening provided by Biden:
"Joe Biden this morning, he totally disparaged and insulted the black community. What he said is incredible…it was a very insulting statement he made."@realDonaldTrump responds to @JoeBiden saying Latinos have 'incredibly different' attitudes, unlike black Americans. pic.twitter.com/EOoyatyq0b
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 6, 2020
And he continued his attack this morning:
After yesterday’s statement, Sleepy Joe Biden is no longer worthy of the Black Vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2020
These latest gaffes follow Biden’s admonishment of Black voters when he told them earlier this year: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” He then later blamed his foot-in-mouthiness on Black radio show host Charlamagne tha God for having “set him up”.
Also, during his run for the nomination, he implied that “poor kids” are Black or Brown:
“We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
He paused, then quickly clarified, “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids.”
His racial pandering is nothing new.
Meanwhile, although Biden still leads Trump in most polls, it’s by a lesser margin:
Less than three months ahead of November’s election, polling averages show the presumptive Democratic nominee’s advantage dropped roughly 3 points between late June and early August.
The latest figure, released by news site and data aggregator Real Clear Politics (RCP), placed Biden’s lead over Trump at 6.4 points as of Thursday. The number averaged national election survey results collected between July 21 and August 5.
One month earlier, RCP’s national averages pointed to a 9-point Biden lead, as Trump’s approval ratings dropped amid resurgences in coronavirus cases, soaring unemployment and the federal government’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests occurring across the country.
Biden and Trump have committed to three debates. Anticipating a surge in early voting, the Trump campaign had requested a fourth debate, but that request was turned down by the Debate Commission. There are concerns that, if Biden’s lead holds, he might back out of the debates. There have also been calls to end presidential debates altogether.
88 days until the election…