May 22, 2020
Joe Biden “You Ain’t Black” Interview Transcript on Radio Show with Charlamagne tha God
Joe Biden went on The Breakfast Club radio show with Charlamagne tha God and is facing some heat for the comment, “If you have a problem figuring out if you’re for me of Trump, then you ain’t black.” Read the interview transcript here, and click the timestamps for video & audio synced with an interactive transcript.
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Charlamagne tha God: (00:04)
Vice President Biden, how, are you today?
Joe Biden: (00:05)
Good. Good to see you.
Charlamagne tha God: (00:07)
Same here. I’ve been critical of you. I have a few things I want to talk to you about.
Joe Biden: (00:12)
I know you have. You don’t know me.
Charlamagne tha God: (00:14)
No, I don’t. That’s why I wanted to get to know you today. I want to get to know you today. I want to talk to you about mostly black stuff, but you know, first of all, how are you? How’s your family during this quarantine?
Joe Biden: (00:24)
Thank God everybody’s doing well. How about you and your family?
Charlamagne tha God: (00:26)
Man, we over here blessed, black and highly favored, man.
Joe Biden: (00:29)
I tell you what the black community is getting killed though.
Charlamagne tha God: (00:32)
That is very, very true. That is very true. It’s a lot of right wing media outlets. They question you, they question your cognitive health. They don’t think everything’s working upstairs. What do you say to that?
Joe Biden: (00:44)
I said, I can hardly wait to meet with that guy who is the stable genius.
Charlamagne tha God: (00:52)
There’s nothing stable about that guy. One thing I’ve been critical about is I feel like you’ve been like MIA during this global pandemic. It’s people like Governor Cuomo here in New York who have become political stars simply because we see and hear from them every day.
Charlamagne tha God: (01:06)
So, I’m wondering how you’re going to energize people and win a campaign from the house?
Joe Biden: (01:12)
Well, I tell you wha.t I’m doing, I’m following the rules, man. Number one, I’m keeping the rules. My governor says he doesn’t want us out. I haven’t been out. I wear my mask. I have a mask. I got secret service outside. I walk outside, I have it on. They get tested. And by the way, I’m beating them across the board. 160 million people have watched me so far on shows like yours. All the stuff about is hurting me is not hurting me. I’m winning at all those states. I’m ahead in all the national polls and the more he talks, the better off I am.
Charlamagne tha God: (01:48)
We know polls can be illusions though. We looked at all the polls in 2016, too, and look what happened.
Joe Biden: (01:54)
Totally different, man. 2016 is totally different. What you had then is you had somebody who they didn’t know at all. They wanted to just change the system the way it was. He was the biggest change. He had no serious opposition that turned out to materialize and so it’s totally different.
Joe Biden: (02:12)
Right now we’re in a situation where it’s like that Carney show goes through town once and you find out there’s no P under any one of those three shelves that get pushed around. Next time it comes back. What do you do? Next time back you ain’t playing. You’ve got to figure it out and let me tell you something. My community figured out a while ago. But here’s the deal.
Joe Biden: (02:31)
What I have to do is I have to continue to talk about the things that matter and the things that matter are, for example, right now there’s a study out of Columbia University and a disease control center up there.
Joe Biden: (02:44)
They pointed out that if he had listened to me and others and acted just one week earlier to deal with his virus, there’d be 36,000 fewer people dead. Dead. Dead. And you are wondering, what’s he doing? Come on, man. Get a life. Get a life.
Joe Biden: (03:04)
This guy has been incredibly terrible and what we’ve had is, back in January, I said, I wrote an article back I think the 27th of January said this pandemics here. We should act. Every other country that was active around the time, it got the notice around at the time we did, they have considerably fewer deaths as a percent of the population.
Joe Biden: (03:28)
I’m the guy that said we ought to take hard records and find out exactly how many people in the black community are getting COVID and are dying from it and look, what’s happened. Now everybody’s going, “Oh, surprise, surprise.”
Joe Biden: (03:43)
Look, everybody knows this. We have to come back. We have to fight back. The crisis slays, lay bare the institutional racism that’s still prevalent in our society. Now I believe we have to address it by transforming our economy and this time, bringing everybody along.
Joe Biden: (04:01)
He started to undermine the pillars of the economy before. Look, the blinders Charlamagne in my view, been taken off. Now people recognize that those essential workers, a disproportionate amount of them are African Americans and they’re breaking their necks, risking their lives, losing their lives. They’re grocery store workers. They’re bus drivers. They’re delivery people. They’re the people who are on the line. They’re the healthcare workers who are in a position where they’re taking care of the nurses. I mean and they’re making basically the minimum wage.
Joe Biden: (04:37)
So this time when we come back, if we hadn’t only rebuild, move this along, we not only rebuild, we have to transform this economy. We can create millions of new jobs in transportation, energy structure. A job has a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about how you’re treated and that’s how we built the working class, the middle class.
Joe Biden: (05:01)
But this time we have to address the institutional racism. We’ve seen it more clearly now. In a black majority county, there’s six times more likely to die in a pandemic than a white county. They’re disproportionately uninsured in the African Americans; disproportionately make up the central jobs that they can’t do at home. They’re risking their lives every day. Enough’s enough and this Biden recovery I’m going to put together will bring everybody along. I’m going to build a better future not back to what we had, but a better back to something better than we had.
Charlamagne tha God: (05:35)
I’m glad to hear you say that. I don’t know if you saw a couple of weeks ago on Sean Combs, you might, you might know him as Diddy. He said what I believe a lot of black voters, including myself feel and that’s that Democrats take black voters for granted. Votes are quid pro quo, right? It’s not like I don’t want to vote. I just want to know what candidates will do for us and exchange all votes, the same way, young, progressive Latinos, or the LGBT community.
Joe Biden: (06:00)
Charlamagne tha God: (06:02)
We want the same thing. Do you feel like black people are owed that from the democratic party?
Joe Biden: (06:06)
Absolutely. What would I say? Remember when I said Biden, can’t win the primaries.
Charlamagne tha God: (06:11)
Joe Biden: (06:12)
I kicked everybody’s ass. Excuse me.
Charlamagne tha God: (06:14)
Talk like that. I need you to say that.
Joe Biden: (06:17)
I won overwhelming. I told you when I got to South Carolina, I won every single county. I won a larger share of the black vote than anybody has, including Barack. I increased the vote in Virginia overwhelmingly by 70%. Look, what people don’t know about me is I come from a state as the eighth largest black population in America; the eighth largest. I get 96% of that vote for the last 40 years. They’re the folks. As they say at my way, brung me to the dance. That’s how I got elected every single time and everybody’s shocked. I get overwhelming support from the black leadership, young and old. Every poll shows me way ahead and it’s not just, I hear this. “Oh yeah, old blacks are with Biden but young aren’t.”
Joe Biden: (07:09)
Look at the polling data. Polling data, let’s say it’s off by half. Come on, man. Give me a little break here. This is where I come from. I got involved. I came home from college and I had a job with a really fancy law firm out of law school and my city is the only city in America, occupied by the National Guard, the military for 10 months when Doctor King was shot. I had this fancy job, a kid coming from a lower middle income household. I quit and became a public defender and I stayed in that community. I was the only guy when I was in high school. I had a job, a country club kind of job at a swimming pool. I was the only white employee in East side because I wanted to work in the projects because I wanted to understand. That’s how I got involved in politics.
Joe Biden: (08:00)
That’s what this is all about for me. It’s about equality. It’s about dignity. It’s about treating people with respect. So when you take a look at my record, people talk about the crime bill. Crime bill didn’t increase mass incarceration, other things increased mass incarceration and the reason why, if you go back and look, and I know you talk about it, you go back and take a look. That’s why you had the vast majority of the black caucus at the time, supporting the crime bill.
Joe Biden: (08:28)
Almost every major city black mayor supported the crime bill because blacks were getting killed overwhelmingly as well. What happened when that crime bill? It had four or five really important things. Now the Violence Against Women Act, it said drug court don’t send anybody who has a drug problem to jail, send them to rehabilitation, to a drug court. It had in it, they had the assault weapons ban getting of assault weapons, getting rid of the number of rounds you could have in a gun. It also had it at a whole range of other things, but it had things I didn’t like.
Joe Biden: (09:05)
Clinton wanted to put in a deal where in fact three strikes and you’re out. I opposed that three strikes and you’re out bill. I oppose the position taking that, saying that you’re going to have any mandatory sentences but on balance the whole bill, what happened was it did in fact, bring down violent crime in black communities as well. And guess what? The fact, is prison population didn’t increase. 94% of every prisoner in jail is in a state prison, not a federal prison. No federal law. And here’s the deal. The one thing I opposed in that bill was people wanting to give money to state prisons to build more prisons. I opposed it.
Joe Biden: (09:54)
But the point was on balance. Everything from the assault weapons ban to the violence against women, to the drug courts, they were important. Now look what we can do. Look, I’ve been pushing along with my colleagues in a black caucus in the United States Congress, we should change the entire and have been doing this for awhile. Change the entire prison system for one, that is punishment to rehabilitation. There’s only a couple of things everybody has in common in jail. One is they were the victims of abuse or their kids were, or their mother was. Number two, can’t read. Number three, they don’t have any job skills. They were in a position where they didn’t get a chance. Why does it make sense? Why did I come along and write the first act that said, when you get out of prison, you don’t just get a DOSA where you get 25 bucks and a bus ticket. You end up under the bridge and just do the same place.
Joe Biden: (10:53)
So every single solitary person being released from prison should have access to every single government program. Why does it not make sense to have African Americans who were getting out of prison, served their time, everybody for that matter, be able to have public housing? Why didn’t it make sense that they can have Pell grants to go to school? Why did it make sense they can have access to healthcare? What are we nuts? That’s what we keep doing.
Speaker 4: (11:19)
So sorry. That’s our time there.
Joe Biden: (11:22)
No, no. I’m sorry. I know Jill as to use this but I’ve talked too much. I apologize.
Charlamagne tha God: (11:26)
No. I got to ask you though. Why so much resistance on admitting the crime bill and other legislation you are a part of was damaging to the black community because we had Hillary on a few years ago and Ms. Clinton said that the crime bill, we made a lot of mistakes with that and she wanted to atone for that by becoming the next president.
Joe Biden: (11:47)
She was wrong. What happened was, it wasn’t the crime bill. It was the drug legislation. It was the institution of mandatory minimums, which I oppose.
Charlamagne tha God: (11:57)
I thought you were a part of that in 84 as well. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act that established mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.
Joe Biden: (12:07)
No, no. What happened was you’re what you’re confusing is what happened was the black caucus came to me and said, look, I did this study when I was chairman of the judiciary committee. We looked at every district of the 10 court districts in America, federal court districts and we found out that if you got arrested for robbery and convicted and I got a record of robbery and convicted and was the first time, you went to jail on average of 13 years. I went to jail an average of three years.
Joe Biden: (12:41)
So there was this whole move, same time for the same crime. So no one based on their color could go to jail longer than anybody else for the same crime. So what happened was there was a judicial selection committee setting up that how you deal with making sure that the sentencing process is taken out of the hands of a prosecutor saying I’m going to want 12 years, 13 years for you and three years for me. The end result of that was the unintended consequence, which we changed, Barack and I did, was the fact that you, in fact all of a sudden, you could not lower my sentence or your sentence be lower than what was the average sentence for everybody else going to jail in the districts. That’s how that came about. It didn’t say mandatory. We said to the judges, you can’t send people to jail for the same crime, different times.
Joe Biden: (13:38)
They have to be within a framework. That’s why that has been changed and while I was vice president, I helped Barack. We reduced the prison population, [Frederick 00:13:49] like 38,000 people. 38,000 people. The only mandatory was in there was carjacking, which I opposed and three strikes and you’re out, which is ridiculous. It only was imposed three times but still even once makes no sense. The idea of three times three strikes and you’re out, give me a break.
Joe Biden: (14:12)
The other thing we have to do, one of the things and I was a public defender. I’m going to insist when I’m president that a public defender gets a federal public funding is paid the same amount of money as a federal prosecutor gets paid. So you have representation. People have representation. But the bottom line is, the other piece is, I’m going to try to change and I’ve laid it out. I’ll send you a copy of my plan. So you have it to see it.
Joe Biden: (14:43)
Charlamagne tha God: (14:44)
Deliver Every Voice or what?
Joe Biden: (14:45)
No, the plan I have is my manifesto for black America and to span, particularly the portion of it that relates to how in fact we’re going to deal with the prison system. If you are in prison, if you are convicted of a crime, no one should be going to jail for drug crime. Nobody. Particularly marijuana which makes no sense for people to go to jail. They should be just wiped out completely and the reason is, if anything for those crimes that are actually continue to be crime, scheduled crimes as marijuana shouldn’t be anymore, what is happening is you shouldn’t go to prison. You should go to a mandatory rehabilitation. It costs less to put people in a drug rehabilitation program than it does in jail and you have a chance. We’ve got to give people a chance.
Charlamagne tha God: (15:42)
Vice President Biden, I’ve read some of your black agenda and you say that you would decriminalize marijuana. What’s the difference between legalizing it and decriminalizing?
Joe Biden: (15:51)
Because they’re trying to find out whether or not there is any impact on the use of marijuana, not in leading you to other drugs, but what it affects. Does it affect long term development of the brain and we should wait until the studies are done. I think science matters.
Charlamagne tha God: (16:09)
I think we’ve got decades and decades of studies from actual weed smokers though.
Joe Biden: (16:14)
Yeah, I do. I know a lot of weed smokers.
Charlamagne tha God: (16:17)
I want to ask you about your running mate. I don’t know if you saw. I saw the day that news report broke that Amy Klobuchar was being vetted and a lot of people on social media, they’re not too happy about that. It’s because they want your running mate, to be a black woman. I don’t know if you saw the op-ed in the Washington Post by some of the leading black women voices in this country and they feel since black women have such a loyal vote and black people saved your political life in the primaries this year, they have things they want from you and one of them is a black woman running mate.
Charlamagne tha God: (16:47)
What do you say to them?
Joe Biden: (16:48)
Well, I say to them is that I’m not acknowledging anybody who is being considered, but I guarantee you, there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple.
Speaker 4: (17:02)
Thanks so much. That’s really our time. I apologize.
Charlamagne tha God: (17:05)
You can’t do that to black media.
Joe Biden: (17:06)
I can’t do that to white media and black media because my wife has to go on at six o’clock.
Charlamagne tha God: (17:12)
Joe Biden: (17:13)
I’m in trouble.
Charlamagne tha God: (17:15)
Listen, you got to come see us when you come to New York VP Biden.
Joe Biden: (17:18)
Charlamagne tha God: (17:19)
Because it’s a long way until November. We got more questions.
Joe Biden: (17:22)
You got more questions but I tell ya, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.
Charlamagne tha God: (17:28)
It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact I want something for my community. I would love to see-
Joe Biden: (17:35)
Take a look at my record, man. I extended the voting racks 25 years. I have a record that is second to none. The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run. I mean, come on, take a look at the record.
Speaker 4: (17:47)
All right. Thank you so much. I really appreciate.
Joe Biden: (17:49)
Anyway. Thanks. I will come back.
Charlamagne tha God: (17:51)
Joe Biden: (17:51)
I look forward to seeing you in person.
Charlamagne tha God: (17:53)
Joe Biden: (17:54)
Okay, pal. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it, Charlamagne.