Michigan Senate candidate John James unloaded on Joseph R. Biden’s history of condescending comments about Black Americans after the Democratic presidential candidate referred to the Republican as a “disaster.”
“Joe Biden, don’t forget your place in Black America,” Mr. James said in a Friday online video. “You’re only where you are because you were Barack Obama’s vice president. That’s it. That’s it. The people who you rely on so desperately for the position you’re in and for the position you want are African Americans, yet you continue to insult us.”
Mr. James, who is Black, swung back after the former vice president weighed in on the Senate race during an appearance in Southfield, Michigan, with Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, who is running for reelection against Mr. James.
Mr. Biden accused President Trump of seeking to destroy Obamacare and said to Mr. Peters: “Just like your opponent calls it a disaster. Talk about a disaster, there is a disaster. The guy is 2000% or 200%, whatever it is, with Trump. I hope everybody remembers,” as shown on CSPAN and reported by Michigan Live.
The context of the comment came when Biden was talking about Obamacare and the potential repeal of it. https://t.co/8DUwxQxdGz
— Taylor DesOrmeau (@TDesOrmeau) October 17, 2020
Mr. James responded by ticking off some of Mr. Biden’s race-related gaffes, including his May interview with Charlamagne tha God in which Mr. Biden said, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”
“You ain’t Black if you don’t vote for me. Asking somebody if they’re a junkie. Calling the president, Barack Obama, ‘clean,’ as if he wouldn’t be for some other reason?” said Mr. James. “You have some serious issues, Joe Biden, the biggest of which being you were in power for 44 years and Black folks continue to fall behind.”
In August, Mr. Biden snapped at CBS News reporter Errol Barnett, who is Black, after being asked if he had taken a cognitive test, saying, “That’s like saying, you, before you go on this program here, take a test where you’re taking cocaine or not? What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?”
— John James (@JohnJamesMI) October 16, 2020
In 2007, Mr. Biden said of then-Sen. Obama: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Mr. Biden has apologized for or walked back the remarks. “I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African-American vote for granted. But nothing could be further [from] the truth,” he said after his “you ain’t Black” crack.
During his unsuccessful 2018 run against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Mr. James said that he supported Mr. Trump “2000%,” according to the AP.
In his Friday video, Mr. James, a West Point grad, combat veteran and business owner, called himself a “disaster for the Democrats’ narrative.”
“Yeah, it’s a disaster for Democrats in Michigan right now. Because right now, you have an African American running in the Republican Party — not because the party is perfect, but because I can think for myself,” Mr. James said.
The RealClearPolitics polling average shows the race closer than Democrats would like it, with Mr. Peters ahead by about 5 percentage points. A Trafalgar Group poll released Saturday showed the Republican ahead by a whisker at 48% to 46.6%.