Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden may want to move past his controversial comment last week on “The Breakfast Club” that if black voters support President Trump, they “ain’t black,” but it’s one the Republican National Committee won’t let Americans forget anytime soon.
While the RNC fired back immediately, through social media, a video, and more than three dozen media interviews by top surrogates within an hour of the comment, the committee has made earning the black vote a priority long before Biden’s comment. And they haven’t slowed down now just because of COVID-19.
Along with the Trump campaign, the RNC turned its engagement efforts with the black community and African-American media outlets completely digital, an RNC official explained to Townhall.
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has made a concerted effort to speak to the black community directly, including through an op-ed last month with the National Newspaper Association’s website BLACK Press USA, which ran locally in a number of black newspapers.
In the piece, McDaniel made sure to explain how the Paycheck Protection Program could help black-owned small businesses.
“Black-owned small businesses, all over our country are the cornerstone of community life and sources of great pride,” she wrote. “As he has demonstrated throughout this crisis and for nearly four years in office, President Trump is committed to fighting for Black-owned businesses.”
Similarly, Paris Dennard, the RNC’s senior communications advisor for Black Media Affairs, echoed that message in black-owned media outlets, as well as continued to highlight the many ways President Trump has helped the African-American community—economically, through criminal justice reform, school choice, opportunity zones, and aiding historically black colleges and universities.
Biden’s record with the black community, on the other hand, is one he’s going to have a hard time defending. As Dennard explained, the former VP has either been “MIA or on the wrong side of history when it comes to fighting for the Black Community” for the last 44 years, especially on his 1994 crime bill.
His “ain’t black” comment only helps the GOP accentuate the difference between the two candidates.
In his apology, Biden insisted he didn’t mean to suggest he took the black vote for granted. “I’ve never ever done that, and I’ve earned it every time I’ve run,” he said in a campaign call with black business leaders on Friday.
Whether black voters are convinced remains to be seen, but either way, the RNC is not going to give up on making the case for Trump to this demographic.
“With the powerhouse political machine the RNC has built, we will be sure that every Black American knows the choice they face in November - a candidate with a failed record who has continuously taken our community for granted, or continued prosperity and opportunity under President Trump," Dennard said. "1.3 million Black Americans voted for President Trump in 2016, and more are coming in November."