- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2020

Likely Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that with “notable exceptions,” the Black community lacks the kind of diversity in attitudes he sees among Hispanics — a contention he later tried to walk back.

Mr. Biden made the comment as he vowed to re-engage the U.S. in the country’s relations with Cuba.

“By the way, what you all know but most people don’t know, unlike the African-American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things,” he told a group of Black and Latino journalists.

He said, for example, that people in Florida might have very different views on immigration than people in Arizona.

“So it’s a very diverse community,” he said.

Thursday evening, Mr. Biden tried to walk the comments back after significant outcry.

“In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all,” he said on Twitter.

Mr. Biden said he’s witnessed “diversity of thought, background, and sentiment” within the Black community throughout his career and said he will never stop fighting for African-Americans.

The Trump campaign used shorthand for an expletive to call the original comments racist.

“There are only 3 words to describe these disgusting comments from @JoeBiden: RACIST AF,” Katrina Pierson, a Trump campaign senior adviser, said on Twitter.

Mr. Biden participated in the interview for the joint virtual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).

The full interview was released on Thursday.

In a clip released on Wednesday, Mr. Biden asked CBS’s Errol Barnett, who is Black, if he was a “junkie.”

The former vice president was trying to ridicule the idea of taking a cognitive test, which President Trump has pushed him to do.

“No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? Come on, man,” Mr. Biden said.

“That’s like saying before you got on this program, you’re taking a test whether you’re taking cocaine or not,” Mr. Biden said. “What do you think, huh? Are you a junkie?”

Mr. Trump on Thursday said Mr. Biden disparaged and insulted the Black community with the “junkie” remark.

“I don’t know what’s going on with him, but it was a very insulting statement he made,” the president told reporters outside the White House as he was preparing to depart for Ohio.

“I guess you’ll figure that out — you’ll see it in a little while, but it was a great insult to the Black community,” the president said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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