House Majority Whip James Clyburn said Tuesday that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s comment that any Trump supporter “ain’t Black” is, while cringeworthy, undeserving of the controversy it has generated.
“In this instance, Joe did not do as well as I 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 during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.” “He is not a perfect person. None of us are. So my decision now is to determine who I feel should be the next president of the United States, and I do that by comparing the candidates to each other, not to the Almighty.”
Clyburn admitted that he “cringed” at Biden’s comment during an interview Friday morning on “The Breakfast Club” radio show, when the former vice president told show host Charlemagne tha God, “Well, I’ll tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”
Biden, who walked back the assertion later Friday, said he does not take the Black vote for granted.
“I know the comments have come off like I was taking the African American vote for granted,” he said during a conference call with the National Black Chamber of Commerce. “But nothing could be further from the truth.”
Biden conceded that he “shouldn’t have been so cavalier” during the interview, but reiterated his willingness to compare his track record with Black voters to Trump’s.
Clyburn, whose endorsement of Biden before the primary in his home state of South Carolina helped rescue Biden’s then-floundering campaign, agreed that the comment wasn’t a true sign of the former vice president’s character.
“We sometimes say things we do not really mean, they come out a little bit wrong, and that’s what happened here,” Clyburn said Tuesday. “I think all of us know Joe Biden … and he knows the African American community very well. I’ve done a lot of stuff with Joe Biden over the years and I would not have supported him if I did not think he was best suited to be the next president of the United States.”