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Biden tries to clarify remarks suggesting lack of diversity in the Black community

The former VP said he recognizes African Americans are not a monolith — "not by identity, not on issues, not at all."
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Wilmington, Del., on July 28, 2020.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Wilmington, Del., on July 28, 2020.Andrew Cabellero-Reynolds / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden on Thursday night attempted to clarify remarks he made earlier in the day in which he suggested that the Black community in the U.S. lacks diversity when compared with Hispanics.

"Earlier today, I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify. In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith — not by identity, not on issues, not at all," Biden said in a thread of tweets.

"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," he continued. "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."

His response came after he faced criticism from comments he made to a Latina reporter from National Public Radio in an interview released Thursday. It was part of a series of interviews hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists and his comments came during a discussion of U.S.-Cuba policy.

"What you all know that 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," Biden said. "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 came under fire for the remarks, including from President Donald Trump who tweeted in response Thursday, "Wow! Joe Biden just lost the entire African American community. What a dumb thing to say!"

Trump hit his Democratic rival on it again Friday morning.

Biden’s senior adviser for his 2020 presidential campaign, Symone Sanders, defended the former vice president’s comments and said that Biden was referring to "diversity of attitudes among Latinos from different Latin American countries." She said that a video of what he said that had been circulating was “conveniently cut to make this about racial diversity, but that’s not the case."