Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been forced to respond to a wave of backlash over comments he made comparing diversity in African American and Latino communities.
During the interview, hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists, which was released in full on Thursday, the former Vice President was asked a question about whether he would seek to normalize relations with Cuba and on the differing immigration concerns between Cuban and Venezuelan Americans.
In response, Biden offered up his view of the differences of opinion between the two communities.
"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," Biden told the panel’s virtual convention.
The Donald Trump campaign was quick to seize on the remarks, tweeting its incredulity.
Uhh... did Joe Biden just say that Black people are all the same? pic.twitter.com/iUgkk2uSJo— Trump War Room - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) August 6, 2020
The current White House incumbent branded Biden’s words as "incredible."
"I just watched a clip and Joe Biden this morning totally disparaged and insulted the Black community… I don't know what's going on with him, but it was a very insulting statement he made," said Trump, according to ABC News.
The Biden campaign waded in to stress that the White House hopeful had been referring to a “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," Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden was cited as saying by ABC News.
Nevertheless, later Biden again compared the diversity of Latino and African American communities, this time during 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 on Thursday afternoon.
.@JoeBiden speaking to the @NALEO 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...— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) August 6, 2020
On Thursday night Biden went on Twitter with a thread of clarification tweets, underscoring he would “always listen” and never “stop fighting for the African American community”.
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
However, netizens were split in their reaction, with some applauding Biden’s ability to “admit mistakes”.
And you correct yourself and admit mistakes, as opposed to the other guy who thinks he's the most perfect and flawless person in the Universe.— Trond Zaphirax (@zaphirax) August 7, 2020
Let me be clear, you have my vote b/c the alternative is so damaging so evil and so destructive that I have no choice, but you really need to watch what you say. And when you win, we’re going to pressure you like you have never been pressed before to make good on that promise— Etan Thomas (@etanthomas36) August 7, 2020
Others were unimpressed.
Your entire career and nothing to show for it. Name one thing you’ve done to make a difference in these communities, and why would that record suddenly change now?— The Virgil to your Dante (@SavageAtheist) August 7, 2020
Joe! Dude! No. This is worse than ‘poor kids are just as smart as white kids’. 🤦🏽♀️ https://t.co/fsj9kEA08M— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) August 6, 2020
It never ends.— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) August 6, 2020
This is incredible to witness. https://t.co/AnSGJQcByG