The cringey moment occurred Wednesday, during a video interview hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. At one point during the teleconference, NPR reporter Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked the former vice president if he would "re-engage" with the Cuban government and extend Temporary Protective Status for Latino immigrants seeking asylum—two issues that could affect Cuban voters in Florida.
"Yes, yes," Biden responded. "And by the way, what you all know, but 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. 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 diverse community."
Biden's suggestion that the Black voting bloc was monolithic immediately drew criticism from Donald Trump and his re-election campaign.
"Joe Biden this morning totally disparaged and insulted the Black community," Trump told reporters outside White House. "What he said is incredible, and I don’t know what’s going on with him, but it was a very insulting statement he made ... It was a great insult to the Black community."
Symone Sanders, a senior adviser for the Biden campaign, responded to the criticism in a statement to ABC News.
"If you look at the full video and transcript, it’s clear that Vice President Biden was referring to diversity of attitudes among Latinos from different Latin American countries," Sanders said. "The video that is circulating is conveniently cut to make this about racial diversity but that’s not the case."
Biden made similar comments Thursday while speaking at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials virtual conference.
"We can build a new administration that reflects the full diversity of our nation. The full diversity of the Latino communities," Biden said. "Now when I mean full diversity, unlike African American community, many other communities, you're from everywhere. From Europe. From the tip of South America, all the way to our border and Mexico and in the Caribbean. And different backgrounds, different ethnicities, but all Latinos."
During Wednesday's NAHJ/NABJ interview, CBS News' Errol Barnett asked Biden if he had taken a cognitive test, as there have been concerns about his possible mental decline. Biden snapped back at the Black correspondent with a rhetorical analogy about cocaine.
"No, I haven't taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?" Biden said. "Come on, man. That's like saying you, before you got on this program, you take a test where you're taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?"
Biden later took to Twitter to clarify his comments, writing, "In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all."
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.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 7, 2020
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.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 7, 2020
Twitter users from across the political spectrum slammed Biden over Wednesday's comments. You can check out some of their reactions below.