Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday night walked back comments he made to a group of Black and Latino journalists earlier in the day suggesting that “unlike the African American community” the Latino community is “incredibly diverse.”
“I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify,” Biden tweeted Thursday night. “In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all.”
Biden also said that he would “never stop fighting for the African American community.”
Addressing a question during an interview with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists earlier on Thursday about whether he would engage with Cuba as president, Biden said that the Latino community was remarkably diverse when contrasted with the Black community.
“Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly diverse attitudes about different things,” Biden said. “You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration than you do in Arizona. So it’s a very diverse community.”
In spite of protestation from his campaign that the comments had been “conveniently cut” and taken out of context, Biden dug himself into a deeper hole later Thursday by again comparing the diversity of Latino and Black communities during remarks at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference.
“We can build a new administration that reflects the full diversity of our nation. The full diversity of Latino communities. And when I mean full diversity, unlike the African American community and 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, we’re gonna get a chance to do that if we win in November,” Biden said Thursday afternoon.
In a since-deleted tweet, President Trump reveled in his opponent’s misstep, saying Biden has now “lost” the Black vote. The tweet was deleted not long after it was posted and was replaced with a new one Friday morning — that in its criticism of Biden ironically appears to assume a monolithic “Black Vote.”
After yesterday’s statement, Sleepy Joe Biden is no longer worthy of the Black Vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2020
Although he has often pressed the importance of coming together and addressing racial injustice rather than stoking division — which has been a campaign tactic of his opponent — the former Vice President has a significant history of missteps on the topic of race. In May, Biden got in hot water and apologized after telling The Breakfast Club host Charlamagne tha God that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Biden also got ahead of himself by claiming during a virtual town hall last month that President Donald Trump was the nation’s first ”racist” President.
The comments came after Biden suggested that President Trump’s use of the term “China virus” represented a level of unprecedented racism from a sitting President.
“No Republican president has done this,”Biden said at the time. “No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.”