Appearing as a panelist on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell acted more as a Democratic strategist than a journalist. She did her best to do damage control for beleaguered presidential candidate Joe Biden, who stepped in it by telling radio host Charlamagne tha God that “you ain’t black” if you consider voting for President Trump. Mitchell quickly changed the subject by contrasting Trump’s “awful” record on race relations with Biden’s.
The segment began with host Chuck Todd playing a clip of Biden’s appearance on “The Breakfast Club.”
After playing a clip of Biden apologizing for his remarks, Todd noted that “the Trump campaign is already spending $1 million in digital ads, trying to take advantage of this. They’re selling t-shirts with a hashtag on it. I don’t know whether that is showing a Trump campaign that is nimble or a Trump campaign that is searching for anything to chip away at Joe Biden."
Mitchell replied it was both: “They’re searching for anything negative, and they are nimble and far more nimble than Biden.” After noting guests on her MSNBC show felt an older white man shouldn’t be declaring who is black, “The fact, though, is that the Biden people, I think correctly point out that Donald Trump’s record on race relations is…is so awful compared to Joe Biden’s.”
While Mitchell admitted that Biden was “vulnerable” for his support of the crime bill under President Clinton, she decided to offer the campaign some free advice: “he should be talking now to African-Americans and particularly to millennial black people about what he can do for them now.” She stopped short of agreeing with Charlamagne tha God that “what he can do for them now” is give them reparations.
Biden’s gaffe and Charlamagne tha God’s line of questioning that preceded it illustrate the real possibility that enough African-Americans could either stay home or vote for Trump rather than voting for Biden to enable the President to win a second term. Fortunately for Biden, he can always count on Mitchell and the rest of the media to act as his spokespeople to help him increase his support among this critical group of voters.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Meet the Press
CHUCK TODD: Welcome back. The presidential campaign poked its head up this week, and suddenly almost rivaling…rivaling, at least for an hour or two, the headlines on the virus, and it was all thanks to this exchange that Joe Biden had with “The Breakfast Club.” Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: It’s a long way until November. We’ve got more questions.
JOE BIDEN: You’ve got more questions. But I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: 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…
BIDEN: Take a look at my record, man! I extended the Voting Rights Act 25 years. I have a record that is second to none.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Well, the comment of “you ain’t black” went viral in the wrong kind of way for Joe Biden. And before the end of the day, he was out with an apology of sorts. Take a listen to how he walked back those comments, Jeh Johnson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier in responding to what I thought was—anyway, it, it was—I don’t take it for granted at all, and no one, no one should have to vote for any party, based on their race or religion or background....
TODD: Andrea Mitchell, I want to put up on screen the…the Trump campaign is already spending $1 million in digital ads, trying to take advantage of this. They’re selling t-shirts with a hashtag on it. I don’t know whether that is showing a Trump campaign that is nimble or a Trump campaign that is searching for anything to chip away at Joe Biden.
ANDREA MITCHELL: They’re searching for anything negative, and they are nimble and far more nimble than Biden. The Biden campaign was taking credit for having responded around 3:30 Friday afternoon, but that interview was taped the night before. They really wasted way too much time. And the African-American Biden supporters whom I had on my program at noon just lashed out about it; that no white person, no white politician, should tell any black person what it is to be black. The fact, though, is that the Biden people, I think correctly point out that Donald Trump’s record on race relations is…is so awful compared to Joe Biden’s. But Joe Biden shouldn’t be reaching back to the crime bill, where he is vulnerable, or the Voting Rights Act. He should be talking now…
MITCHELL: …to African-Americans, and particularly to millennial black people about what he can do for them now and talk to them about his record on the pandemic, when African-Americans are among the most, you know, the most vulnerable on the front lines.