May 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Val Demings rips Trump for having the "gall" to use Biden remarks in campaign

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) responded on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday to comments Joe Biden made about black voters on the radio show "The Breakfast Club" last week, arguing that Biden "shouldn't have said it" but that he's apologized and "engaged in a conversation" about race — unlike President Trump.

Why it matters: Demings is one of the candidates being vetted as a potential running mate for Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee. She condemned Trump for using Biden's comments in his reelection campaign, claiming that "since day one" the president has done everything in his power "to divide this country, particularly along racial lines."

The backdrop: Biden said during an interview Friday that "you ain't black" if "you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump." The remark was in response to host Charlamagne challenging Biden's record on racial issues and pressing him on whether he would select a black woman as his running mate.

  • Biden apologized for the remark later that day in a call with black business leaders, saying he "should not have been so cavalier."

What she's saying: "[O]ne of the things I said in a statement on Friday was that, look, we know we have some serious issues that we're dealing with in this country, and if we're going to be able to address them effectively, then we have to hold everyone accountable, even those that we do support."

  • "Look, the vice president shouldn't have said it. He apologized for it. But I really think the gall and the nerve of President Trump to try to use this in his campaign — he who since day one has done everything within his power, and of course supported by his enablers, to divide this country, particularly along racial lines."
  • "Look, let's talk about race. Because we definitely need to. We see it in housing, we see it in voting rights, we see it in health care, we see it in education. Mr. President, let's do have a serious conversation about race in America, and how about working for all people that you are supposed to represent, not just the privileged few."

Go deeper: Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Go deeper