A top official at the Republican National Committee accused presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden Wednesday of “attacking” a Black journalist by asking the reporter if he’d been tested for cocaine use, saying it is part of Mr. Biden’s pattern of offending Blacks.
“Joe Biden keeps offending Black Americans,” said Paris Dennard, the RNC’s senior adviser for Black media affairs, in an email. “This is not Joe Biden’s first insensitive and bigoted comment about the Black community.”
Mr. Biden spoke with evident annoyance when reporter Errol Barnett asked on “CBS This Morning” whether he would take a cognitive test. The candidate said it would be like the reporter getting tested for cocaine before going on air.
“That’s like saying before you got on this program, you’re taking a test whether you’re taking cocaine or not,” the 77-year-old Mr. Biden said. “What do you think, huh? Are you a junkie?”
Mr. Dennard said, “Not only did Biden completely flip-flop on his previous claim that he took a cognitive test, he attacked a Black reporter, asking him if he was a cocaine ‘junkie.‘“The RNC official noted that Mr. Biden helped to write a law in 1986 that increased penalties for drug crimes and which was blamed for fueling racial disparities in sentences for crack and powder cocaine.
Mr. Dennard also pointed out that Mr. Biden, in an interview earlier this year with The Breakfast Club host Charlamagne tha God, said “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
The Biden campaign had no immediate comment.
Mr. Trump has boasted about acing a test that measures whether someone’s mental faculties have declined, and he has called on Mr. Biden to take the same test.
Shaun King, a civil rights activist and co-founder of the Real Justice PAC, said after Mr. Biden’s CBS interview that the campaign should “KEEP HIM OFF OF TELEVISION.”
“This was a damn level 10 disaster,” Mr. King tweeted, “From losing his cool asking this reporter ‘are you a junkie’ to everything else about it.”