American politics has given us plenty of “WTF?” moments over the years. President Trump’s laundry list of ill-timed and ill-researched remarks defies comprehension. Former House of Representatives member Todd Akin once said “Legitimate rape does not cause pregnancy”, and if a woman does become impregnated due to rape, “The female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down”. Former Arkansas HOR member Jon Hubbard believes “Slavery was a blessing in disguise for African-Americans”. Former Georgia HOR member Paul Broun thinks the Big Bang was a lie “straight from the pit of hell”. Let us not forget former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who believes that we have “a right to disagree with facts”.
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden has given us yet another “WTF?” moment. Near the conclusion of his interview with African-American media icon Charlemagne Tha God on The Breakfast Club, Biden, with great jubilance, stated,
“Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black”.
Is this a bigoted comment? Yes. Does this prove much of a psychological attachment the African-American community has with the Democratic party? Yes. Does he deserve every bit of backlash from this statement? Yes. Did Barack Obama say something like this before? Yes.
Saturday, September 17, 2016.
It was the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 46th Annual Legislative Conference. That night highlighted many dignitaries in African-American politics. Democratic HOR member Marcia Fudge was presented with an award. Presidential nominee at the time, Hillary Clinton, spoke at the event, hoping to rally African-American voters. President Barack Obama delivered his last keynote speech to the CBCF as United States President. Obama, always the passionate and articulate speaker, addressed the audience with gumptious intensity:
"I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election...You want to give me a good send-off, go vote."
Obama was talking directly to the African-American community. He later spoke of the many ways that the Republican party was attempting to suppress the black vote. He brought up Trump’s 2015 remarks about how America’s first black president accomplished “nothing” for African-Americans. Obama and Hillary verbally tore down Trump that night, explicitly and implicitly.
Hidden behind his dignified and calm exterior, Barack Obama has made many abrasive and controversial statements during his political career. However, because of his eloquent vocabulary and the media’s love affair with him, he largely escapes any resemblance of criticism. That night in 2016, Barack Obama, in layman’s terms, said that black people have to vote for Hillary Clinton. The Obama legacy must live on through Hillary Clinton. A message that could have reasonably been reworded to say, “If you have a problem figuring out if you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black”.
Now what would have been the backlash if Obama had said that?