Former Vice President Joe Biden made another racially questionable comment Tuesday when discussing the difference between black and Latino voters, Politico reported.
During a virtual conference hosted by the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Biden was asked by NPR reporter Lulu Garcia-Navarro about what he would do to address deportations of Cubans, especially while some Venezuelan people are receiving Temporary Protected Status to stay in the U.S.
Biden did not answer the question directly, causing Garcia-Navarro to have to restate it in an attempt to get specifics. On the second try, Biden pivoted to what may have been intended as a compliment to Latino communities that came out as a needless shot a black voters.
“Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly diverse attitudes about different things,” Biden said. “You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration than you do in Arizona. So it’s a very diverse community.”
President Donald Trump, who won the 2016 election with approximately 8% of the black vote, tweeted Tuesday that the remark would cost Biden in November.
“Wow! Joe Biden just lost the entire African American community,” Trump wrote. “What a ‘dumb’ thing to say!”
The day before, Biden snapped at a Errol Barnett, black journalist who asked him about cognitive tests (which Biden had previously taken), by asking “why the hell would I take a test” and saying it was like asking Barnett if he had taken a cocaine test before the broadcast.
Biden’s apparent belief that the black community is ideologically homogenous has shown up before. In May, Biden scoffed at a black radio host who said he had more questions about Biden, telling him that black people who are undecided about voting for Biden over Trump “ain’t black.”
While it’s true that black voters tend to overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates, that voting pattern may have as much to do with distaste toward Republicans or a lack of good Republican candidate choices as it does with political ideology. Past research has shown that black Democrats are less likely than white or Hispanic Democrats to label themselves as liberal.
FiveThirtyEight has also commented on this issue:
But black voters aren’t the monolith exit polls make them out to be. Pew Research Center found that a quarter of black Democrats identify as conservative, and 43 percent identify as moderate.