Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) denounced Joe Biden’s assertion Friday that “you ain’t black” if voters might not support him over President Donald Trump, saying the former vice president’s comments were just further indication Democrats take the black community for granted.
Scott, one of the most high-profile black elected officials within the Republican Party, took to social media shortly after Biden appeared for an interview on the Breakfast Club, a popular radio program, and made the controversial remarks.
“1.3 million black Americans already voted for Trump in 2016,” Scott wrote. “This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we ‘ain’t black.’ I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and browbeat those that don’t agree.”
1.3 million black Americans already voted for Trump in 2016. This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we “ain’t black.” I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) May 22, 2020
The South Carolina senator’s response was echoed by Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign who is also leading its outreach effort toward the black community.
“White liberal elitists have continuously dictated which black Americans are allowed to come to the table and have a voice,” Pierson said in a statement. “It is clear now more than ever… that Joe Biden believes black men and women are incapable of being independent or free-thinking.”
— Katrina Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) May 22, 2020
The flare-up over Biden’s comments to the Breakfast Club underscores the at times tenuous relationship the former vice president has had with black America. Although Biden has become the presumptive Democrat nominee largely thanks to his support from black voters, he has also drawn rebukes from the community over his decades-long support for tough crime measures and prior work with segregationists to oppose school busing.
The latter issue was apparent in June 2019, when the former vice president invoked two such segregationists, with whom he served in the Senate, at a fundraiser. Biden mentioned the men, the late Sens. James Eastland (D-MS) and Herman Talmadge (D-GA), while touting his ability to forge “consensus” in Congress.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” the former vice president said at the time, faking a Southern drawl as he spoke. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’”
“Well, guess what?”Biden continued. “At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
The praise was highly contentious, as Talmadge and Eastland were infamous segregationists that dedicated their careers to stopping the progress of civil rights. Eastland, whom Biden has praised as a friend and mentor in the past, was known as the “voice of the white South” for his defense of Jim Crow and propensity for referring to African Americans as “an inferior race.” Talmadge, on the other hand, pledged to do everything in his power to protect “separation of the races” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which struck down segregation in public schools.