Scott Wong, The Hill, May 26, 2020
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking African American lawmaker, said Tuesday he “cringed” when he heard former Vice President Joe Biden’s remark that “you ain’t black” regarding people who vote for President Trump.
But Clyburn, a top Biden surrogate, defended the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, saying no one — including himself — is perfect.
“I cringed, no question about that,” Clyburn said during an appearance on ABC’s “The View” when co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked about Biden’s gaffe.
“In this instance, Joe did not do as well as I had hoped in responding, but I will say this: I go about my business every day comparing Joe Biden to the alternative — not the almighty,” Clyburn continued.
Biden was forced to apologize last week after telling Charlamagne tha God during his “The Breakfast Club” radio show that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Republicans and even some Democrats blasted the remarks as “racist” and offensive, accusing Biden of taking the black vote for granted. And hours after uttering them, Biden retreated, saying he “shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.”
Clyburn has been credited with Biden’s primary win. His endorsement of the former vice president helped turn out African American voters and propel Biden to victory in the South Carolina primary, a turning point that forced rivals to drop out and gave Biden a wave of momentum heading into Super Tuesday.