President Trump’s reelection team is accusing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden of making “racist” remarks.
Mr. Biden said in an interview that black voters who are on the fence over whether to support him or Mr. Trump in the presidential race “ain’t black.”
“It is clear now more than ever, following these racist and dehumanizing remarks, that Joe Biden believes Black men and women are incapable of being independent or free thinking,” said Katrina Pierson, a Trump campaign spokesperson. “He truly believes that he, a 77-year-old white man, should dictate how Black people should behave.”
Ms. Pierson said Mr. Biden, who served as vice president under the first black president, has a sordid history on race and that his comments “proved what a growing number of Black Americans and I have always known: Joe Biden does not deserve our votes.”
In his interview with Charlamagne Tha God, of the morning show “The Breakfast Club,” Mr. Biden sought to drive home the idea that he is a bigger advocate for black voters than Mr. Trump.
“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Mr. Biden said.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the lone black Republican in the Senate, said he was “shocked and surprised” when he heard about Mr. Biden’s comments.
“This is the type of negative, race-baiting rhetoric that is the lowest denominator in this nation, and it’s got to stop,” Mr. Scott told reporters in a conference call organized by the Trump campaign. “I was struck by the condescension and the arrogance in his comments. I could not believe my ears that he would stoop so low to tell folks what they should do, how they should think and what it means to be black.”
He called on Democrats to disavow Mr. Biden’s remarks.
Mr. Scott and Ms. Pierson also said Mr. Trump has a better record than Mr. Biden on helping minorities.
“I would love to have a policy contrast with Joe Biden and President Trump on the things that we’ve been able to accomplish,” Mr. Scott said.
He pointed to Mr. Trump’s support of Mr. Scott’s proposal for “opportunity zones” that are spurring investment in 8,700 low-income communities nationwide. Mr. Scott also raised Mr. Trump’s achievement of criminal-justice reform, which is aimed in part at reversing rigid sentencing guidelines from a Biden-backed crime bill in the 1990s that resulted in harsh prison sentences disproportionately for minorities.
Ms. Pierson said the administration is “undoing that damage” with legislation that has given prison inmates a second chance.
Mr. Scott also noted that Mr. Trump pushed through the highest level of permanent funding ever for historically black colleges and universities.