On Friday morning, Joe Biden said something dumb — and offensive.
“Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Biden told Charlemagne tha God in a radio interview for “The Breakfast Club.”
He apologized later that day, saying he “shouldn’t have been such a wise guy” in the interview with Charlemagne.
President Donald Trump — and his allies — seized on the Biden comment expressing their horror that the presumptive Democratic nominee would so glibly take the votes of African Americans for granted. Trump’s campaign quickly produced “You Ain’t Black” t-shirts and sent their surrogates out to condemn the former vice president.
“I have struggled with Biden’s recent remarks,” tweeted former Trump administration ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Saturday afternoon. “They were gut wrenchingly condescending. Regardless of color, gender, or class, to label any individual with what he or she is expected to think, believe, and vote is demeaning and disrespectful. Not to mention arrogant and entitled.”
Which, fine. Biden was wrong. He shouldn’t have said it.
But, the outrage summoned by Haley and her ilk seems to miss one big reality: Trump says and does things on an almost-daily basis that far exceed the inappropriateness of Biden’s comment. And yet, there is silence from the same people so willing to leap to condemn Biden.
Just to prove my point, let’s go through just some of what Trump has tweeted and retweeted between Friday morning — when Biden made his “ain’t black” remark and Sunday morning.
* Retweeted a post calling 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a “skank.”
* Retweeted a post suggesting — contrary to science — that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for coronavirus, adding these words: “Many physicians agree with you. Also, some very good studies!”
* Retweeted a photo of former 2018 Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams that included these words: “She fought a tough race, kissed a lot of babies and visited every buffet restaurant in the State.”
* Retweeted two doctored photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — one with a Trump 2020 face mask on and one with duct tape over her mouth. The tweet said: “To protect PolyGrip during this pandemic, we have developed 2 options. With the DJT option, she will be able to tongue and adjust her dentures more easily. With duct tape, she won’t be able to drink booze on the job as much.”
* Tweeted, with no evidence or proof, that mail-in ballots will produce “the greatest Rigged Election in history.”
* Retweeted an article about the death of an intern in then-Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough’s office, adding: “So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that?”
* Tweeted this unfounded speculation about the 1990s death of the intern in Scarborough’s office: “A blow to her head? Body found under his desk? Left Congress suddenly? Big topic of discussion in Florida…and, he’s a Nut Job (with bad ratings). Keep digging, use forensic geniuses!”
That’s all in the last 48 hours.
So, you can see why the shock and horror that Trumpworld is expressing over Biden’s admittedly dumb comment is a little bit hard to take. If you want to act like Biden’s “you ain’t black” remark is the worst thing you’ve ever heard while simply ignoring the President of the United States suggesting a) a former Congressman — and now cable TV host — committed a murder (with zero evidence) b) the former Secretary of State is a “skank” c) a former gubernatorial nominee is overweight and d) the Speaker of the House has a drinking problem, it’s going to be very hard for me to consider your upset as genuine.
And, by the way, you don’t get off the hook by simply rolling your eyes and saying something like “That’s just how Trump talks.” Yes, it is. But, to give Trump some sort of pass because he has so lowered the bar of acceptable behavior in a president is to normalize him — and in so doing allow him to be judged by a different standard than Biden is being held to.
I’ve said — and written — many times that one of the tactics Trump has employed throughout his campaign and his presidency is to say so many outrageous things that the bar for writing about them or commenting on them is lowered beneath the floor.
It’s like in a basketball game if one side fouls the other team on every play. The refs are forced to decide whether, as the rules suggest, to call a foul on every play and foul the one team out in the first quarter or to change the way in which they officiate the game — thereby allowing the one team a level of leeway in terms of fouls and on-the-court conduct that the other team doesn’t enjoy.
That’s what Trump is doing here. Suggesting that Biden’s comment is somehow the worst thing that has ever been said by a politician even as the President himself says five things more offensive — by any objective measure in a 24-hour period.
Trump’s behavior — this weekend and almost all the time — is not normal. It doesn’t make what Biden said right. It isn’t. But it sure as heck calls into question those Republicans who are shocked — SHOCKED! — at Biden’s comment and choose to somehow miss all of the offensive things the President says.