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In what can only be described as an attempt to downplay the controversy over Joe Biden telling African-Americans “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Fox News host Chris Wallace dismissed the widespread outrage over the remark as little more than “show.”
But Wallace went further in trying to downplay the comment as just being a “dumb” thing to say, as the Fox News Sunday host appeared to take a veiled shot at President Trump.
“I think it’s fair to say some of the reaction, some of the outrage coming from various people about Biden’s remarks is largely for show by people who have said even more offensive things about African-Americans during their political careers,” Wallace said, before asking guest panelist Jonah Goldberg. “Would you agree that the Biden remark was pretty dumb?”
“Yeah, no,” Goldberg replied — you’re on your own figuring that out — before adding this is “precisely the kind of thing a lot of Democrats are worried about Biden doing again and again on the campaign trail.”
He said Biden makes a lot of people in the party nervous because his “insecurity” has him going “a bit further than facts or rationality sometimes allow.”
Wallace stiffened up a bit in turning to fellow panelist Donna Brazile, the former DNC chairwoman.
“First of all, just on the merits itself, wasn’t the remark offensive?” he asked. “And from a political point of view, doesn’t it play right into an argument the president and a lot of Republicans are making that it seems to show Democrats take black votes, black support, for granted?”
Talk about an instructive Freudian slip, Brazile’s initial response was a classic.
“You know, before I became a Democrat I was an American,” she replied, not grasping the optics of what she just said. “And I was born black in the segregated south, so I understand being black from the ground up. But here’s what I do believe, I believe Joe Biden was incorrect in saying the statement you ain’t black, but I also believe that his apology was sufficient.”
In an attempt to pivot away from Biden’s offensive remark, Brazile proceeded to talk about how the coronavirus pandemic affected “a disproportionate number” of people of color.
“We live in a country where thousands of people have died and a disproportionate number of them are people of color, African-Americans, communities of color,” she said. “So I would rather spend more time talking about the disparities that we have seen that have been amplified during this pandemic then speaking about Joe Biden and his record of blackness.”
Brazile then spoke about “survival,” offering Biden a little advice.
“This is not just an issue of race, this is an issue of survival right now and I hope that Joe Biden has learned his lesson, his advisors have also learned their lesson that you just cannot be cavalier in talking about these issues,” she said. “Stick to the facts, that is what the radio hosts wanted him to do, talk about the issues, because the issues mattered now more than ever.”
Noting that Trump is making a push for the black vote, Wallace asked panelist Josh Holmes, former chief of staff and campaign manager for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, does Trump really expect to get a bigger portion of the black vote or is he “just trying to show moderate suburban voters, Republican voters perhaps. that he’s not racially divisive?”
Holmes replied that Team Trump has made courting the black vote a central issue of the campaign
“I think this whole episode — as Joe Biden often does, he perfectly articulated the Trump campaign central thesis for earning the black vote, which is Democrats have taken the vote for granted rather than going out and trying to earn the votes of black Americans, they’ve basically assumed it.”
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