Joe Biden has stirred controversy after telling an African American radio host that he “ain’t black” if he supports Donald Trump.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was speaking on radio show The Breakfast Club and being pressed on reports he is considering a white woman, Senator Amy Klobuchar, to be vice president.
Host Charlamagne Tha God told Mr Biden that black voters “saved your political life in the primaries” and “have things they want from you”.
“I’m not acknowledging anybody who is being considered,” Mr Biden said. “But I guarantee you there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple.”
One of Mr Biden’s aides then interrupted the interview in an attempt to end it, prompting the host to say: “You can’t do that to black media.”
Mr Biden said: “I do that to black media and white media.”
He then added: “If you’ve got a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or for Trump, then you ain’t black.”
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Black voters helped to resurrect Mr Biden’s campaign in the Democratic primaries after he suffered early setbacks in predominantly white areas.
According to a survey by AP news agency of 17 states that voted in February and March, 61% of black voters supported Mr Biden during the primary.
Several black women are under consideration for the role of vice president, including California senator Kamala Harris, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s former US ambassador to the UN.
Mr Biden has already committed to picking a woman as his running mate, but with black voters already largely opposed to Mr Trump, he is considering white candidates too.
Supporters of Mr Trump hit back at Mr Biden’s remarks, with South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham tweeting that they were “truly offensive”.
Senator Tim Scott, the Senate’s sole black Republic, said he was “shocked and surprised” by the comment.
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“I thought to myself, as an African American, been black for 54 years, I was struck by the condescension and the arrogance in his comments,” he said.
“I could not believe my ears that he would stoop so low to tell folks what they should do, how they should think, and what it means to be black.”
Symone Sanders, a Biden senior adviser who is also black, said the Democrat’s comment had been “made in jest”.
“He was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day,” she said.
During the radio interview, Mr Biden encouraged black voters to “take a look at my record” and pointed to his work to extend the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
He also said he had been endorsed each time he had run by civil rights organisation NAACP.
The president is generally not favoured by black voters and has a history of making controversial remarks.
Last year, Mr Trump referred to some African nations as “s***hole countries” and when campaigning in 2016, he asked black voters: “What the hell do you have to lose?”