Harvard University professor and progressive activist Cornel West says Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden needs to "get off his symbolic crack pipe" and admit his record on crime, or risk losing black voters to President Donald Trump in 2020.
What are the details?
On Monday, President Trump declared on Twitter, "Super Predator was the term associated with the 1994 Crime Bill that Sleepy Joe Biden was so heavily involved in passing. That was a dark period in American History, but has Sleepy Joe apologized? No!"
He added, "Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected. In particular, African Americans will not be able to vote for you. I, on the other hand, was responsible for Criminal Justice Reform, which had tremendous support, & helped fix the bad 1994 Bill!"
The Washington Examiner reached out to West for his reaction to the president's tweets and his assessment of Biden's recent claim that the 1994 Crime Bill he was instrumental in crafting "did not generate mass incarceration."
West told The Examiner, "I hope and pray he is unable to do it. But if Trump comes out strong on criminal justice reform, he is going to get a slice of the black vote, because this is life or death.
"I think Biden is going to have to take responsibility and acknowledge the contribution he made to something that was not a force for good," he continued. "We all make mistakes, but this was major, major bad judgment. And we have to tell the truth."
"That Joe Biden was one of the architects, or core architects, is going to haunt him in a very serious way," West added. "When he says it didn't contribute to mass incarceration, I tell him he has to get off his symbolic crack pipe."
The philosopher went to say Biden "should be ashamed of himself" for using the word "predator" when pitching the sweeping tough-on-crime legislation ahead of its passage, and urged the former vice president to apologize.
West — who supports Democratic socialist candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2020 race for the White House — threw in another suggestion for Biden in his conversation with The Examiner, reportedly saying with a laugh, "My fundamental advice to Biden is to pull out of the race and pull into the port of Bernie."