For Democratic politicians holding presidential aspirations, an interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God has become an obligatory rite of passage on the long road to the White House. But sometimes even friendly interviews can go horribly wrong.
Charlamagne Tha God — real name, Lenard Larry McKelvey — is a host of The Breakfast Club radio show, which reaches millions of predominantly black and Latino listeners each day. Though the show usually focuses on pop culture and has a light-hearted and convivial tone, Charlamagne has proven to be an adept political interviewer capable of drawing blood from his guests when they least expect it.
But few could have foretold what a bloodbath Joe Biden’s interview would be. On Friday, the presumptive Democratic nominee once again put his foot in his mouth when he told radio listeners that they aren’t really black unless they vote for him.
“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Biden told host Charlamagne tha God. Biden’s insensitive remark set off a media firestorm and provoked condemnation from prominent black leaders.
Looks like Charlamagne just helped Biden pick his VP!
— Americana 🇺🇸 Latina for #Trump2020 (@m_fasn8) May 22, 2020
Charlamagne Tha God first defended Biden but he has since appeared to distance himself from the candidate, telling CNN late Friday that Biden “was one of the people on the front lines when it came to the war on drugs, and mass incarceration. If he wants to be president, he needs to fix that.”
Biden isn’t the only Democrat who walked away from a Charlamagne interview with egg on his or her face. Here are a few more moments when the radio host put left-wing politicians on the spot.
Hillary Clinton’s Hot Sauce Moment
In a moment that will live in political infamy, Hillary Clinton sat down with The Breakfast Club in 2016 to discuss her run to become the Democratic nominee. When asked to name something she always carries with her, Clinton replied, “hot sauce.”
Sensing something amiss, Charlamagne chimed in: “People are going to see this and say she’s pandering to black people.” And boy did they…
Elizabeth Warren Gets Grilled Over Native American Claims
Charlamagne put Elizabeth Warren’s feet to the fire in 2019 over her past claims that she is of Native American descent. At one point during their interview, he compared her to Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP official who was revealed to be a white woman. “You’re kind of like the original Rachel Dolezal, a little bit,” Charlmagne said.
Oh man @cthagod put @ewarren on the spot over her faking being Indian. When he asked her "When did you find out that you weren't Native American?" she was STRUGGLING to answer, it sounds like she knew long ago.
"You sound like the original Rachel Dolezal" pic.twitter.com/MGUVgkxWZO
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 31, 2019
Bernie Sanders Is Asked If America Really Needs More White Men as President
Charlamagne asked Bernie Sanders point blank about being white during an interview last year. “So, Bernie, 44 out of 45 presidents in this country have been white men. Do you think we need another one?” he asked. The candidate replied: Well, I think you need this one.”
Kamala Harris Makes Dubious Claims about Smoking Weed in College
During an interview with Charlamagne last year, then-presidential hopeful Kamala Harris appeared to claim that she smoked weed in college while listening to Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. But as numerous reports subsequently noted, Harris graduated college in 1986, and completed law school in 1989. The first albums of Snoop Dogg and Tupac didn’t appear until the early 90s.
Interpretations of what Harris actually claimed to say have varied, with some arguing that Harris was vague about the timeline and wasn’t inventing memories. Still, the interview damaged her campaign and seeded skepticism about her hardline drug policy as California’s attorney general.
Kamala Harris went on a black radio show where she admitted to smoking weed and listening to Snoop Dogg and Tupac while she was in college.
Here’s the problem:
Tupac’s 1st album: 1991
Snoop’s 1st album: 1993
— ConservativeNationalist_1 (@Nationalist_KAG) February 13, 2019
Pete Buttigieg Is Asked About Debate Performance: “Do You Think You Sucked?”
Charlamagne didn’t hold back when he interviewed Pete Buttigieg last year shortly after the first round of Democratic debates.“You kind of got lost, Mayor Pete,” he told the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor.
Digging the knife in deeper, the radio star followed up: “Do you think you sucked?” Buttiegieg, of course, said he didn’t think so.