Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) falsely suggested late last week that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden did not really make his “you ain’t black” remark that was widely condemned as racist and arrogant.
During an interview on “The Breakfast Club” with co-host Charlamagne Tha God, Biden said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Lee made the false claim during an appearance on Fox News when asked about the remark during an interview with anchor Bret Baier.
“I mean, you would say to somebody in your district who’s an African American, who perhaps enjoyed the historically low African American unemployment, the support for historically black colleges and universities, the prison reform and justice reform, and they said, you know what, I’m going to vote for Donald Trump,” Baier said. “They are not less black tonight, right?”
“I don’t believe anyone who saw that exchange would in any way suggest that anyone is blacker, blackest, or less black,” Lee claimed. “That exchange was in jest, but on second thought, it could have been spoken differently.”
“And what I would say to you is that that was not what the vice president said in terms of those words,” Lee falsely claimed.
Baier concluded the segment by saying, “He did say what he said, and he apologized.”
A rather shameless Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee claims Joe Biden didn't say you're not black (or: "you ain't black") if you vote for @realDonaldTrump.
It's exactly what Biden said. pic.twitter.com/NgBszlNaxT
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) May 25, 2020
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BRET BAIER, FNC ANCHOR: Let’s get some balanced reaction to all of this, the Biden comment. Texas Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee joins us tonight.
Congresswoman, thanks for being here. I want to get your reaction to that story, the comment today, what you think about it.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, I’m going to take off my mask. I want everybody to know that we should be wearing masks, but I’m not near someone for six feet, so I’m going to go ahead and take it off. Good to be with you.
The good news is I am delighted that the vice president was on “The Breakfast Club,” it is a dynamic show with a very probative questioning host. That was the right thing to do.
Then as well, I think the right thing to do was to own up that it might not have been as funny as we might have thought originally, meaning the vice president, because it was done in jest, and to be able to match his record up against his opponent.
Any day I believe he’ll come out with 100 percent – the vice president knows that he can’t take any community for granted, and particularly the African-American community.
I don’t believe he, in any way, is insensitive to the needs of this community, particularly in what we’re going through right now with COVID-19, the enormous amount of mortality rates in our community.
So I believe he’s answered over the last 24 hours that he’s going to fight every single day to earn the vote of every single African-American of all generations, and that’s the way a presidential candidate should put their candidacy forward.
BAIER: Yes, Congresswoman, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the reaction that some folks didn’t think it was a joke and took offense to it, including Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, who is also a big finance person for Hillary Clinton, as you well know, said this, “Vice President Biden’s statement today represents the arrogant and out-of-touch attitude of a paternalistic white candidate who has the audacity to tell black people, the descendents of slaves, that they are not black unless they vote for him.
This proves unequivocally that the Democratic nominee believes that black people owe him their vote without question; even though, we as black people know it is exactly the opposite. He should spend the rest of his campaign apologizing to every black person he meets.”
Your reaction to Bob Johnson?
JACKSON LEE: Well, my reaction is that Bob Johnson is a friend. I appreciate and respect his analysis and also his contributions to the economic engine of wealth in this nation. And there have been many tweets and comments that have been said about this.
But I maintain that the vice president is realistically aware that he has to work every single day to get every American’s vote, and particularly in the African-American community.
What I like about the vice president is I don’t have to look for his record, his record is present. And he has already indicated that one of his chief responsibilities and concerns is to close the wealth gap between everyone else and the African-American community, to boost the educational opportunities and close that horrible gap, and to deal with health disparities — which reflects, again, in the mortality rates of COVID-19, and the number of people that are not tested in the communities without resources.
So this is a great opportunity for the vice president to show his record and to contrast it with an individual, his opponent, that has called African countries s-hole countries, that have not hired any African-Americans, and finally I would say that has made it a point of targeting with wrong words, African-American women.
BAIER: But Congresswoman, last thing, quickly. I mean, you would say to somebody in your district who’s an African-American, who perhaps enjoyed the historically low African-American unemployment, the support for historically black colleges and universities, the prison reform and justice reform, and they said, you know what, I’m going to vote for Donald Trump. They are not less black tonight, right?
JACKSON LEE: I don’t believe anyone who saw that exchange would in any way suggest that anyone is blacker, blackest, or less black. That exchange was in jest, but on second thought, it could have been spoken differently.
But I think African-Americans are truly one of the most astute political groups in this nation, and they know what is best for them, their children, their families, their elders – and as relates to the generational divide, if you will, or the unity of such, those who are millennials are clearly astute.
And what I would say to you is that that was not what the vice president said in terms of those words, and if we had listened to the earlier conversation we would know that the vice president wants to put his record forward.
He knows that everyone has their own historical moral standing on the color of their skin, but he also said he hopes that people don’t have to just vote on the color of their skin, and he also believes —
JACKSON LEE: — in the history of our people. And I don’t believe in anyway that he undermined who we are and what we are.
Look, I happen to be someone who was introduced — legislation
BAIER: Congresswoman. Yes, we really appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
He did say what he said, and he apologized.
And we appreciate you coming on the show. You’re welcome any time.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you.
BAIER: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.