In a video posted to Facebook on Friday afternoon, Republican nominee for Lt. Governor Mark Robinson impassionately responded to a controversial comment made by presidential candidate Joe Biden. In the video, Robinson states, “…my Black-ness does not qualify me as anything other than the tone of my skin. What I am, in fact, Mr. Biden is an American, and being an American makes me free to choose who I vote for and what political alliances I choose to align myself with.” As of Saturday afternoon, the video had received over 66,000 views.
The former Vice President was being interviewed by Charlemagne Tha[sic] God on the radio talk show The Breakfast Club when one of Biden’s aides cut the interview short, prompting Charlemagne to say, “…you’ve got to see us when you come to New York VP Biden because it’s a long way to November and we’ve got more questions.” Biden responded, “You’ve got more questions? Well, I’ll tell you—if you have a hard time deciding whether you’re for me or for Trump, then you ain’t Black.”
In his fervent rejoinder, Robinson says, “The statement that you made smacks of a paternal racism that has dragged this country down in so many levels in its history.” Robinson concludes the video by saying directly to Biden, “If you—in your advanced state having served this nation in government at the highest levels—if you do not understand that nobody because of the color of their skin is beholden to you, or any political allegiance in this country, then maybe you ‘ain’t’ fit to be President.”
The comments, and Robinson’s response to them, are a part of an ongoing national discussion over the relationship between African-Americans and the Republican Party. In January of this year Sen. Tim Scott, an African-American Republican from South Carolina, was called an “Uncle Tom,” by a white woman on Twitter.
And in March a white left-wing activist stirred up controversy when he posted a video on Tik Tok stating African-Americans who support Donald Trump were “1000x less black than me.”
In 2006 Rep. Steny Hoyer—a white Democrat from Maryland—said that then U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele had “a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party.”
After the interview with Biden was over, Charlamagne Tha[sic] God told the website Mediaite, “when I asked [Biden] if Dems owe the black community, ‘ABSOLUTELY’ was his answer. So let’s see what you got!!! Votes are Quid Pro Quo. You can’t possibly want me to Fear Trump MORE than I want something for my people.”
Democrats in North Carolina rely heavily on African-American voters to be able to win in the state. Traditionally Democrats carry around 95% of the African-American vote in the state, and if Robinson is able to use this incident to draw away some of those voters it could create real problems for the Holley campaign in November.
Robinson’s opponent in the general election, Yvonne Lewis Holley, has not yet released any statements on the former Vice President’s comments.