In an interview with Fox News Channel on Tuesday, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) appeared to say that Joe Biden didn’t really say…what he definitely, actually said…when he appeared on The Breakfast Club radio show last Friday. Jackson-Lee, the latest in a series of African-American Democrats to assure the world that Biden didn’t really mean it, or he was just joking, or everyone makes mistakes, or he actually meant something totally different, told Fox’s Bret Baier that the former vice president’s comments were really no big deal.
The context, in case you’ve been taking a break from the news: Biden appeared on a black-hosted radio show to say, “Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
The remark immediately ignited a firestorm of controversy, with many black people – conservatives and liberals alike – saying they didn’t appreciate Biden crowning himself the arbiter of who is and isn’t “black” in his eyes.
But Jackson-Lee isn’t among them.
“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,” she said. “The vice president knows that he can’t take any community for granted, and particularly the African-American community.”
Later, Baier pushed back against Jackson-Lee’s wall of defensiveness.
“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?” he asked.
That’s when Jackson-Lee began rewriting a history that’s less than a week old.
“I don’t believe anyone who saw that exchange would in any way suggest that anyone is blacker, blackest, or less black,” she said. “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, and if we had listened to the earlier conversation we would know that the vice president wants to put his record forward.”
Biden didn’t say what he said. Ah. That’s the game we’re playing now.
Good luck with that, Biden defenders.