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Biden apologizes for saying radio host 'ain't black' if undecided about U.S. election

Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden has apologized for telling a black radio host that he "ain't black" if he was still weighing whether to support him or incumbent Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.

'I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,' likely Democratic presidential nominee tells African-American group

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and former vice-president Joe Biden is seen in an image captured from video participating in a remote video interview with The Breakfast Club radio co-host Charlamagne tha God from Biden's home in Wilmington, Del. (The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 via Reuters)

Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden apologized on Friday for telling a black radio host that he "ain't black" if he was still weighing whether to support him or incumbent Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.

The likely Democratic nominee's remarks to The Breakfast Club co-host Charlamagne tha God in an interview broadcast on Friday drew a swift rebuke from the Trump campaign and Republican supporters, as well as some black Democrats on Twitter.

"I shouldn't have been such a wise guy," Biden said on a subsequent call with the U.S. Black Chambers Inc, an African-American business group. "I shouldn't have been so cavalier."

Biden, who served eight years as No. 2 to President Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, added he has never taken black voters for granted and that no one should have to vote for somebody.

During the radio interview, recorded on Thursday, the popular host had challenged Biden over his long history on race issues.

Joe Biden is apologizing for saying voters "ain't black" if they are considering voting for Trump. Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright says while he would phrase it differently, he understood what Biden was trying to say. 6:43

As Charlamagne pressed Biden about whether he would select an African-American woman as vice president, a campaign aide could be heard trying to end the interview.

"You can't do that to black media!" the radio host said.

Biden responded, "I do that to white media and black media because my wife has to go on at six o'clock," apparently referring to a media appearance by Jill Biden.

WATCH | Biden's interview on The Breakfast Club:

Charlamagne invited Joe Biden back to the show, saying he had more questions ahead of the election.

"You've got more questions?" Biden replied. "Well, I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."

Biden called his record on racial issues "second to none." He and Charlamagne agreed he would come back on the show another time.

 

Before the apology, the Trump campaign organized a conference call with reporters where U.S. Senator Tim Scott, who is black, said Biden's comments were "arrogant and demeaning" and "negative race-baiting rhetoric."

Biden, seen here at one of the Democratic candidates debate in March, made his controversial remarks in jest, but he was also 'making the distinction that he would put his record with the African-American community up against [Donald] Trump any day,' said Biden adviser Symone Sanders. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Biden adviser Symone Sanders said in a tweet that the remarks were made in jest.

"He was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump's any day. Period," she said.

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