After President Joe Biden was accused of belittling African American senior advisor Cedric Richmond last Monday, referring to him as “my boy” in a briefing with state governors and local officials in what was seen as a “racist slip,” writer and legal commentator Horace Cooper referred to the president as “walking bigotry” for his history of racist remarks, while blasting the media for “hypocrisy” in turning a blind eye to such incidents while attacking conservative radio host Larry Elder, accusing the leading Republican candidate of representing white supremacy.
Appearing on Steve Malzberg’s weekly commentary show Eat the Press, Cooper, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research and co-chair of Project 21 national advisory board, who has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News as well as in a variety of print publications, blasted the “hypocritical” silence on the part of the media.
“We’re told, we’re drilled, every corporate boardroom, all kinds of media narratives tell us that there’s certain language that just can never be used and when it is it’s poisonous and there have to be consequences,” he said.
“[Yet] here you have the president of the United States using the very language that we’re told can never be used, would never be appropriate, and yet other than programs like yours and a couple of others, there’s nary a peep about it,” he added. “It is so hypocritical.”
Cooper then questioned the refusal to condemn the alleged slur by those who supposedly “champion” black interests.
“Here’s my question: if the phrasing ‘boy’ is nearly as poisonous as we’re told that it is, why hasn’t former congressman Richmond responded?” he asked. “Why haven’t all of those voices that always tell us that they’re championing the interests of blacks, why haven’t they condemned the president?”
“It is really, really telling that it turns out there’s a lot more concern about what party is involved when conversations take place than the actual language,” he added.
After Malzberg recalled a 2007 Biden remark, deemed racist by many, whereby he described then-fellow candidate Barack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Cooper blasted the president.
Referring to President Biden as “walking bigotry,” the longtime academic expressed disbelief at the sheer amount of similar incidents involving Biden.
“It’s unbelievable the amount of conversation that this man [Biden] has had throughout his political career in which he continually makes these kinds of [bigoted] statements,” he said. “This isn’t an out of context concern.”
“What exactly does this guy’s bigoted remarks have to accomplish in order for him to be condemned broadly?” he asked.
Larry Elder — “amazing American success story”
Regarding Republican Larry Elder, the leading candidate to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom in the upcoming California gubernatorial recall election, Cooper slammed the media for pursuing the black conservative, as the left protects “privileged” Newsom despite having “hurt” blacks.
“It is really, really a challenge when you’re a progressive having to keep up with what your rules are,” he said.
“And it really isn’t just rules for thee but not for me,” he continued. “It’s rules for thee on Monday, but not for me on Tuesday.”
“They change left and right,” he added.
Referring to Elder as “an amazing American success story,” Cooper criticized Newsom for having harmed minorities.
“Here you have a black man that has risen to the top and instead of celebrating how America is a place where someone like Larry Elder might become governor, what they do is resort to all kinds of throwback tactics,” he said.
“All they do is say: ‘This white privileged guy, the governor of the state, needs to stay in’ even though every advantage has been given to him and he has messed it up,” he added.
Accusing Newsom of having “hurt” the economy, small businesses, and minorities, Cooper questioned, “Is there any real surprise that Latinos as an ethnic group — a majority of them — are opposed to his retention?”
“This is the result of his own work, and the LA Times — all they can do is try to pretend that somehow some form of white extremism explains what’s going on,” he said.
Voting rights — “Who is it that’s living up to Martin Luther King’s vision?”
In response to the false claim made on MSNBC that blacks have “less voting rights now” than in 1965 by one of the organizers of a recent Washington, DC, rally marking the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, Cooper argued the media should have challenged the false assertion.
“If we had a working media that would have immediately been called out,” he said.
Recalling that in 2018 black Americans “set records for their levels of participation” in national, federal, and statewide elections — and broke that record in 2020 — Cooper called such a system “the weirdest form of bigotry” he’d ever seen, noting, “More black Americans are able to participate in the electoral process than ever before and are doing so at rates higher than the population of Americans as a whole.”
“There’s a real question now: who is it that’s living up to Martin Luther King’s vision? Is it America that embraces the color-blind agenda or is it these progressives, overwhelmingly white, who are calling in a bunch of blacks to reject it?” he asked.
The president has a history of racially insensitive comments.
Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Biden was seen as one of the Senate’s leading opponents of busing aimed at desegregating public schools, expressing fears that it would lead to a “racial jungle.”
After being re-elected to his second term in 1978, Biden voted the following year against revoking a legislative provision that prevented the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from rescinding the tax-exempt status of private segregated academies which were founded in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision to prevent the integration of educational institutions.
Biden also praised the notorious segregationist politician George Wallace, boasted about how Wallace honored him with an award in 1973, and told a Southern audience in 1987 that “we [Delawareans] were on the South’s side in the Civil War.”
In 2019, Biden praised the “civility” of the segregationist senators he worked with in Congress to pass anti-busing legislation.
That same year, Biden elicited controversy after telling the Asian and Latino Coalition of Des Moines that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
Last year, Biden told black radio host Charlamagne tha God, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” The comments elicited immediate rebuke, including from Charlamagne.
In April, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) accused Biden of using race in the past to promote his agenda.
“Joe Biden, unfortunately, has a long history of engaging in race-baiting and inciting racial conflict and divisions,” he said.
“In a prior election cycle, he went before the NAACP and said they’re going to put you back in chains, which is incendiary. It’s a grotesque lie when he accuses anything he dislikes of being the new Jim Crow. Somehow, Joe Biden never seems to acknowledge that Jim Crow laws were written by Democrats. The Dixiecrats were Democrats. Bull Connor was a Democrat. The founders of the Ku Klux Klan were Democrats. And you don’t have to go back 100 years to find that,” he continued.
“And so, the history of racial bigotry on the Democratic side is horrific, and now, the Democratic Party, whenever they have a political fight, they immediately tried to inflame racial divisions,” Cruz added.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein