Election 2020

Is This Joe Biden's Blackface Scandal? Strong Echoes of Ralph Northam...

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

On Thursday, GQ added an embarrassing retraction to a story about Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” in the abortion case Roe v. Wade (1973). GQ falsely claimed that the notorious Alabama segregationist George Wallace was a Republican. Ironically, George Wallace is an issue in the 2020 election — thanks to presumptive Democratic nominee Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. While Biden has compared the “racist” President Donald Trump to the infamous segregationist, Uncle Joe actually praised Wallace in 1987. But it gets worse. Biden also said his fellow Delawareans were on the South’s side in the Civil War. Yikes.

The enterprising folks over at the Trump campaign found the quote from The Philadelphia Inquirer from September 20, 1987. The article described Biden’s problem of having “presented inconsistent images of himself at different times and places.” Sound familiar?

“At his new conference Thursday, for example, Biden said he refused to join the Democratic Party in Delaware in the 1960s because he was ‘not comfortable’ with its racist elements. in a 1983 speech in New Jersey, according to the New York Times, he said that as a young man, ‘my stomach turned upon hearing the voices of Faubus and Wallace,’ a reference to former Gov.s Oral Faubus of Arkansas and George Wallace of Alabama,” The Inquirer reported.

“But campaigning in Alabama in April, Biden talked of his sympathy for the South; bragged of an award he had received from George Wallace in 1973 and said ‘we [Delawareans] were on the South’s side in the Civil War.”

Yes, the supposed champion of black Americans who is running against the supposed horrific racist Donald Trump once prided himself on his connection to notorious segregationist George Wallace. Biden once identified himself as a supporter of the Confederacy in the Civil War. The same Confederacy that was not only founded on race-based slavery but emerged after decades of Southerners attempting to extend race-based slavery into the territories.

This scandal seems reminiscent of the blackface-Ku Klux Klan photo on Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s yearbook page from the 1980s. Northam, who defeated Republican Ed Gillespie by branding him a horrible racist, had chosen to feature a KKK picture on his yearbook page in medical school!

Deceptive Editing? Norma McCorvey From Roe v. Wade Didn’t Reject the Pro-Life Cause, Former Lawyer Says

Sure, Biden later made it clear he did not support Wallace. But this shameful flip-flopping should make Democrats very nervous. Biden campaigned as a “moderate” in the 2020 Democratic primaries, but he has increasingly favored the “democratic” socialism of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his acolyte, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Grow Yucca in NYC). Biden is a leaf in the wind, telling people what they want to hear — but he’s not exactly deft at it. He may alienate both the “moderates” and the Bernie Bros.

As for the GQ article that brought up Biden’s fresh wound? In that article, Laura Bassett claimed that “The Anti-Abortion Movement Was Always Built on Lies.” (Never mind the central basic truth that human life begins at conception…) In her screed, she tried to smuggle in the claim that George Wallace had been a Republican.

Before Roe, Republicans and white evangelicals generally supported abortion rights, much in the way libertarians do now, because to them it meant fewer mothers and children dependent on the government for support. Segregationists, meanwhile, had their own racist reasons. George Wallace, the longtime Republican governor of Alabama, four-time presidential candidate, and outspoken segregationist who is often compared to Donald Trump, backed the legalization of abortion in the late 1960s because he claimed black women were “breeding children as a cash crop” and taking advantage of social welfare programs.

GQ was shamed into admitting the error: “Correction 5/21: An earlier version of this piece misstated that George Wallace was a Republican. We regret the error.”

Yet the “correction” covered up for the Democratic Party by insisting that George Wallace did not remain a Democrat.

George Wallace, the longtime governor of Alabama, a Democrat who would later join the far-right American Independent Party, four-time presidential candidate, and outspoken segregationist who is often compared to Donald Trump, backed the legalization of abortion in the late 1960s because he claimed black women were “breeding children as a cash crop” and taking advantage of social welfare programs.

Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, mocked Bassett. “LOL at you thinking George Wallace was a Republican and making that the foundation of your entire stupid premise,” he tweeted.

Wallace was not the foundation of Bassett’s article, but it is quite rich that her article condemning the whole pro-life movement as one big lie prominently featured a huge whopper. As it turns out, the claim that Norma McCorvey was paid off by the pro-life movement is extraordinarily tenuous. It seems far more likely the filmmakers mislead McCorvey and deceptively edited her comments.

One thing is certain: Bassett’s ridiculous claim that George Wallace was a Republican has only drawn more attention to Joe Biden’s past praise for the segregationist — and his infamous flip-flopping.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

Reminder: Ralph Northam Won After Calling Ed Gillespie Racist