The president is trying to use Joe Biden's recent remarks about the Latino community being more diverse than the Black community, but is Trump just opening himself up to more criticism?
Joe Biden’s “racist concepts” may be to blame for recent controversial statements the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee made about the nation’s Black and Latino communities, an Ohio Republican says.
Ken Blackwell, an African-American conservative activist who served as mayor of Cincinnati and Ohio state treasurer, among other positions, was among critics who reacted Thursday to a pre-recorded interview in which Biden suggested Blacks were a less “incredibly diverse” community than Latinos, and that Blacks were more likely to vote as a bloc in elections – rather than make independent-minded choices at the polls.
But Biden’s view just isn’t so, Blackwell, 72 — who was mayor of Cincinnati from 1979-1980, Ohio state treasurer from 1994-1999 and Ohio secretary of state from 1999-2007 – argued in a video posted on social media.
“Individuality. Free will. Fashioned in the image of God. Joe Biden doesn’t believe that these notions, these concepts, apply to Black people,” Blackwell said. “He doesn’t believe that we have an individual conscience, that we have a free will, that we are not humanoids, that we’re not the products of group-thinking.
“We are, in fact, fashioned in the image of God and we, in fact, think according to our conscience.”
Blackwell, a Fox News contributor, then suggested that the views Biden expressed in the interview that went public Thursday stemmed from the former vice president’s long-held but flawed beliefs.
“Joe Biden’s racist concepts continue to flow from not only his history but from his current statements,” Blackwell concluded. “C’mon, Joe.”
“Joe Biden’s racist concepts continue to flow from not only his history but from his current statements. C’mon, Joe.”
In the interview, which aired at the convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Biden contrasted the Black and Latino communities.
“Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things,” Biden claimed.
Biden later made similar remarks while speaking virtually to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference. In that appearance, he vowed that if elected, his administration would reflect “the full diversity of this nation” as well as “the full diversity of the Latino communities.”
“Now what I mean [by] full diversity [is], unlike the African American community and many other communities, you’re from everywhere,” Biden explained. “You’re from Europe, from the tip of South America, all the way to our border in Mexico, and the Caribbean. And [of] different backgrounds, different ethnicities, but all Latinos. We’re gonna get a chance to do that if we win in November.”
After critics, including President Trump, derided Biden’s comments as insulting to the nation’s African-Americans, Biden tried to clarify his remarks via Twitter.
“Earlier today, I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify,” Biden wrote. “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,” Biden continued, “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.”
It was far from the first time Biden has dealt with blowback following race-related remarks. Some past examples:
In May, Biden did a radio interview with host Charlamagne tha God and suggested that Black voters “ain’t black” if they decided to support President Trump.
In August 2019, Biden told a crowd in Iowa that “poor kids are just as bright and talented as White kids.”
In June 2019, used the term “gangbanger” when referring to disadvantaged Black youths, drawing criticism from fellow Democrat Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who is African-American.
That same month, Biden was for fondly recalling his past work with former U.S. senators who were known to support racial segregation.
WARNING: This story contains graphic language.
While he occasionally weighed in with praise for public officials or more straightforward observations, tweets from this period are also littered with conspiracy theories and controversial language to go after perceived critics of the Trump administration.
In a series of tweets on March 12, Caputo responded to a baseless conspiracy theory that the United States brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, China, by tweeting that “millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters.”
He followed up at another user, “Don’t you have a bat to eat?” and tweeted at another user, “You’re very convincing, Wang.”
After publication, Caputo responded to CNN’s request for comment by saying that reporting on his past tweets is “fair game, dude. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me at all.” He claimed that he deletes his tweets “every month and I do it because it drives people mad.”
He added “when you tweet in spirited fashion, KFile is going to have them. I’ve known that all my days. So I don’t mind what you’ve done.” Caputo defended his past Twitter behavior saying he was “a defender of the President” tweeting in a “spirited manner” that included calling out reporters, but he said he’s “now a servant of the American people and some might be disappointed, but my tweets will be different.”
Spokespeople for HHS did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the White House declined to comment.
Caputo also used his Twitter account to aggressively attack Democrats and the media.
In March, he referred to one White House reporter as “a dick” after that reporter had a heated exchange with the President. He said many Americans viewed reporters as “the enemy of the people” for “carrying water for the Chinese Communist Party.” He implied that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was guilty of sedition.
“Coronavirus is the Democrats’ new Russia, their new Ukraine. And nobody will believe them except their zombies. But know this: The Dems’ strategy to defeat @realDonaldTrump requires 100s of thousands of American deaths. Will one of their nutjobs make it happen, a la Hodgkinson?”
That same day, Caputo retweeted conservative actor Nick Searcy saying, “Democrats are pulling for the virus to kill a lot of people.”
In other tweets from March, Caputo claimed the media created “intentional” panic created around the outbreak, saying it was “orchestrated by soulless Trump critics who seize every crisis as an opportunity to stop him.”
Caputo was also interviewed by Mueller prosecutors and testified before Congress, and adamantly denied there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Here are some of Caputo’s deleted tweets pertaining to the unfolding health crisis in the United States:
He follows up, “Of course he has” — in response to Trump being proactive. “This Democrat strategy, echoed by their conjugal media, will fail. Hoping your country fails and hundreds of thousands die so you can gain power is a sick and twisted strategy. America will punish them.”
Goldman had tested positive for coronavirus and had tweeted, “One final note: I may be the first you know who tested positive, but I won’t be the last. Let’s take care of each other, listen to the experts and the cities, states and corporations who are taking the lead in the absence of the fed government, and get through this together. END.”
“Saying the intentional media panic doesn’t exist is dishonest. Saying everything in this crisis transpires because of intentional media panic is also dishonest,” writes Caputo.
Rothschild told CNN he is not related to the banking family, which is frequently the target of anti-Semitic conspiracies.
Scarborough told CNN in an email, “I’m more interested in what the assistant Secretary does in the future than what he may have tweeted about me in the past. We’re facing difficult times ahead and I am hopeful that the president’s entire team will simply follow the lead of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and keep America’s seniors safe.”
Hayden told CNN in an email, “Michael Caputo fits right in to this administration. He is a typical Trump thug. By the way, I never replied to his tweet but this now seems like the appropriate time to point out that he will not be a ‘normal American’ doing the right thing in any position in this administration.”
“How many Americans must die to feed Democrat powerlust? 100K? 1M? More??,” Caputo added. “How much economic destruction is the Democrat goal? 100% unemployment?'”
He was appointed to his position at HHS just two weeks later.
This story has been updated with a comment from Caputo.
Associated Press/John Locher
- Presidential candidate Joe Biden released a new advertisement on April 18 that criticizes President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The ad focuses on Trump’s relationship with the Chinese government, saying that he “rolled over for the Chinese” and highlighted comments Biden made in January and February condemning the President’s response and arguing for United States public health involvement in China.
- Many criticized the ad’s rhetoric, calling it racist and xenophobic on Twitter, saying that it parroted Republicans’ anti-China talking points and stood to harm Asian Americans who have already faced harassment as a result of the pandemic.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
One of presidential candidate Joe Biden’s latest advertisements came under fire on Twitter this weekend, with many calling it racist and xenophobic for its rhetoric surrounding China and the novel coronavirus. The ad explicitly targets President Trump’s response to the coronavirus, criticizing President Trump for being too soft and trusting of the Chinese government during the early stages of the pandemic.
It positions Biden as his hypothetical foreign policy foil, showing a clip of Biden saying, “I would be on the phone with China making it clear: We are going to need to be in your country. You have to be open. You have to be clear. We have to know what’s going on.”
Donald Trump left our country unprepared and unprotected for the worst public health and economic crisis in our lifetime — and now we’re paying the price. pic.twitter.com/aCxcqQqUqw
The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart called those comments a “jingoistic fantasy,” writing that “in suggesting that Biden could bludgeon China into submission — in a phone call, no less — the Biden campaign is peddling a lie about how public-health cooperation with China actually works.” The advertisement itself appears to be a response to Trump’s recent anti-Biden ads, which accuse the Vice President of being soft on China.
At the same time, the ad’s rhetoric casts China’s government — and its people — as untrustworthy, linking the American crisis to Trump putting trust in Chinese government officials. The advertisement states that the President “rolled over for the Chinese” — as opposed to “Chinese President Xi Jinping” or “the Chinese government” — failing to differentiate between the government and its people in what some are calling an unfair generalization.
The advertisement has garnered praise from some for being hard on Trump: Jon Cooper, former chair of The Democratic Coalition (an anti-Trump super-PAC), wrote on Twitter, “Damn, this ad by Joe Biden is brutally effective. Trump can run, but he can’t hide.” Political commentator Edward Hardy tweeted, “Joe Biden has unveiled another devastating attack ad.” Singer Ricky Davila said on Twitter, “Holy sh-t, Joe Biden’s newest ad slaps an orange criminal’s weak pathetic ego in the face.”
However, just as pervasive (if not more so) than the praise were criticisms of the ad’s rhetoric, with many criticizing the way in which it portrays China, its people, and its government.
The racism of this @JoeBiden ad should be obvious.
It casts “the Chinese” as the enemy. In America, that means anyone who looks like me. pic.twitter.com/8CiYcl13Bl
There are innumerable reasons & ways to slam Trump. Joe Biden’s new racist ad isn’t one of them.
This is a devastatingly racist ad. Does Biden have #AAPI advisors? Because it sure as hell seems like he’s not listening to them, or to the #AAPI community who will suffer with this racist, xenophobic messaging. I’m so disappointed. https://t.co/XfRSxfiaMS
Others expressed frustration at the Biden campaign’s apparent lack of willingness to reach out to progressive voters, particularly given the messaging of the ad.
Joe Biden is now running an ad saying Trump likes and trusts China too much. That ad would never exist if the outbreak started in England. In other words, he is now attacking Trump from the right on racism, xenophobia, and nationalism.
Remind me again why we should vote for him?
Joe Biden’s campaign says its reaching out to progressives but then they release racist ads to appeal to conservatives and he tells us he’d veto M4A so they can definitely eat shit.
Biden has condemned some of the anti-Chinese rhetoric that President Trump has espoused in the past, tweeting on Feb. 1 that, “we need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.”
We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.
That being said, many found the new advertisement merely parroting the anti-China rhetoric that Republicans have peddled in an effort to distract from Trump’s disastrous coronavirus response. While Biden has spoken out against Trump’s xenophobia, for many, the advertisement supersedes any previous comments: Asian Americans have faced racist attacks and sentiment as a result of the pandemic, and an ad that espouses rhetoric tying “the Chinese” to it could stand to exacerbate harassment.
“Wow @JoeBiden,” Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director of the National ACLU, said on Twitter. “Already trying to out-Trump Trump. This kind of fearmongering is causing violent attacks on Asian Americans.”