Biden sparks uproar by suggesting Trump supporters ‘ain’t black’

Former United States Vice President Joe Biden set off something of a firestorm on Friday by suggesting in an interview that African Americans who do not plan to vote for him in November’s presidential election “ain’t black”.

In an interview with a New York City-based radio show host who goes by the name Charlamagne tha God, Biden responded to a question about his record on racial issues by saying, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or [US President Donald] Trump, then you ain’t black.”

“It don’t have nothing to do with Trump,” the host responded. “It has to do with the fact I want something for my community.”

“Take a look at my record, man,” Biden continued. “I extended the Voting Rights Act 25 years. I have a record that is second to none. The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run. I mean, come on. Take a look at the record.”

The host had earlier challenged Biden as to whether he would select an African-American woman as his running mate because black voters proved so pivotal to his emergence as the presumptive Democratic nominee during the primary elections conducted before the coronavirus pandemic set in.

The radio show, The Breakfast Club, normally focuses on hip-hop music but has become as popular among Democratic politicians eager to reach black voters as it is among rap musicians and celebrities. The show’s young, diverse audience and syndication to more than 90 markets across the country has drawn the likes of New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, California Senator Kamala Harris and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

In a statement released after the show, officials with the Trump campaign immediately labeled Biden’s statement “racist and dehumanizing”.

“White liberal elitists have continuously dictated which black Americans are allowed to come to the table and have a voice,” said Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign and leader of its Black Voices for Trump group. “It is clear now more than ever, following these racist and dehumanizing remarks, that Joe Biden believes black men and women are incapable of being independent or free thinking.”

Criticism of Biden’s comments, however, was not limited to Republican opponents of the 77-year-old former vice president. Many progressive Democrats took to social media platforms and expressed dismay over Biden’s comments.

Following the uproar, Charlamagne suggested in a written statement to news outlet Mediaite that Biden should not take black voters for granted as he ramps up his campaign against Trump.

“We have been loyal to Democrats for a long time, black people have invested a lot into that party and the return on investment has not been great,” he said. “As Biden said in our brief interview when I asked him if Dems owe the black community ABSOLUTELY was his answer. So let’s see what you got!!! Votes are Quid Pro Quo. You can’t possibly want me to Fear Trump MORE than I want something for my people.”


Trump orders US flags lowered to half-mast for virus victims

Donald Trump, the president of the United States, says he will order the US flag to be flown at half-mast over the next three days as the death toll from COVID-19 approaches 100,000.

“I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus,” he said in a Twitter post.

The move follows a request from Democratic leaders to do so to recognise a “sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths”.

Jamal Khashoggi’s son Salah says family ‘forgives’ killers

The son of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has released a statement via Twitter forgiving his killers.

In the statement, posted on Friday, Salah Khashoggi said his family pardons those who took the reporter’s life in 2018 when he visited the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.

“In this blessed night of the blessed month (of Ramadan) we remember God’s saying: If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah.”

“Therefore, we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty” he added.

Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate where he had gone to get the necessary documents for his wedding. His body was dismembered and removed from the building and his remains have not been found.

The murder caused a global uproar. Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they believed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the killing.

Saudi officials say he had no role, although in September 2019 MBS indicated some personal accountability, saying the grisly killing “happened under my watch”.

Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three to jail over Khashoggi’s murder last December. The suspects were put on trial in secretive proceedings in the capital Riyadh.

The trials were condemned by the United Nations and rights groups. UN Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard accused Saudi Arabia of making a “mockery” of justice by allowing the masterminds of the 2018 killing to go free.

However, Salah Khashoggi said of the December verdict: “It has been fair to us and that justice has been achieved.”

Under Islamic law, death sentences in Saudi Arabia can be commuted if the victim’s family pardons the perpetrator, but it is not clear whether that will happen in this case.