Biden Faces Backlash for Comparing Diversity in African American, Latino Communities

Mark Makela/Getty Images, FILEIn this July 28, 2020, file photo, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the William Hicks Anderson Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware.

President Trump seized on the comments as “a very insulting statement.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden has sought to clean up comments he made comparing diversity in African American and Latino communities during an interview released Thursday.

He was asked about his view toward normalizing relations with Cuba and pivoted into an explanation of his belief on the differences of opinion between the two communities.

“And by the way, what you all know but most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things. You go to Florida you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you’re in Arizona. So it’s a very different, a very diverse community,” Biden told a panel of journalists at the National Association of Black Journalists-National Association of Hispanic Journalists 2020 virtual convention.

Thursday night, the former vice president tweeted a clarification.

“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 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,” Biden tweeted more than 12 hours after his initial comments were streamed.

“My commitment to you is this: I will always listen, I will never stop fighting for the African American community and I will never stop fighting for a more equitable future,” he continued.

President Donald Trump quickly seized on the comments Thursday afternoon, telling reporters that the remarks were “incredible.”

“I just watched a clip and Joe Biden this morning totally disparaged and insulted the Black community,” Trump said. “I don’t know what’s going on with him, but it was a very insulting statement he made.”

Despite the repeated calls, Biden has not committed to the idea, but has continually promised that his administration will “look like the country” in its makeup.

The controversy sparked by the latest comments also come as the Biden campaign announced specific advertising investments to woo African American voters, including a new national ad released Thursday specifically targeting Black voters.

“Just like our ancestors, who stood up to the violent racists of a generation ago, we will stand up to this president, and say, ‘no more,'” the narrator of the new ad, which will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), BET, TV1, CNN and MSNBC.

As part of their newly announced $280 million television and digital advertising reservations for the fall, the Biden campaign included a specific slate of investments targeting Black voters that they say is a “bold statement about the seriousness of our efforts to reach Black voters and earn their vote in this election.”

Despite his reelection campaign’s efforts to amplify the comments and claim that he’s “done more for African Americans than any president with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln,” Trump has a long history of controversial comments regarding race.

During a January 2018 meeting regarding immigration, Trump reportedly grew frustrated at a proposed bipartisan immigration plan that would scale back the visa lottery program, but not eliminate it, asking those in the room why they would want people from “s—hole countries” like some in Africa coming to the United States, multiple sources either briefed on or familiar with the discussion told ABC News at the time.

The president also drew widespread criticism recently when he retweeted a video that showed one of his supporters in Florida yelling “white power!” Trump took down the retweet later that day, and the White House argued he was unaware of the offensive content it contained.

ABC News’ Mary Bruce contributed to this report.

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