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Biden Backtracks Comments Contrasting Diversity In Black And Latino Communities

Former Vice President Joe Biden, seen here at a speech in July in Delaware, has apologized for suggesting the African American community is not diverse.
Mark Makela
Getty Images
Former Vice President Joe Biden, seen here at a speech in July in Delaware, has apologized for suggesting the African American community is not diverse.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sought to clear up comments he made earlier this week that suggested the African American community is mostly not diverse.

His comments came during a virtual interview published Thursday morning with journalists from the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

In response to a question from NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro about whether Biden would engage with Cuba if elected president, Biden said yes and went on to contrast the diversity of the country's Latino community with that of the Black community.

"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. You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you're in Arizona. So it's a very different, a very diverse community," he said.

Biden said later that day, in a series of tweets, "In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith — not by identity, not on issues, not at all."

"Throughout my career I've witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community. It's this diversity that makes our workplaces, communities, and country a better place," Biden continued.

"My commitment to you is this: I will always listen, I will never stop fighting for the African American community and I will never stop fighting for a more equitable future."

It's not the first time Biden has had to backtrack comments about the Black community during this campaign.

In May, he told Breakfast Club host Charlamagne Tha God, "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't Black."

His campaign later said the remarks were made in "jest."

President Trump told reporters he thought Biden's comments Thursday were "very insulting."

"Joe Biden ... totally disparaged and insulted the Black community," he said.

Trump has repeatedly claimed he's done more for the Black community in this country than any other president.

But the majority of Black voters in polls say they will not be voting for Trump come November.

It was the support from Black voters in the South Carolina primary that revitalized Biden's campaign and catapulted him forward as the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.