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Joe Biden is facing a backlash after taking the time to sit down for a video chat with rapper Cardi B, having dodged interviews with major journalists and news outlets ahead of the Democratic convention.

Biden tuned in for a candid video conversation with the provocative and political rapper Cardi B for Elle Magazine. Posted online on Monday, the virtual tete-a-tete prompted immediate eye-rolling and accusations that the Democratic candidate was using the celebrity to appear relevant.

The unusual pairing discussed a variety of election-related topics, with Cardi B telling Biden she had plenty of wishes for the next president, but saying that, ultimately, “I just want Trump out.” Biden said he knew he would “make mistakes” as president but would “never” break his word. He also praised the singer for her commitment to “decency, fairness, and treating people with respect.”

Netizens were less interested in the details of the discussion, however, and more stunned that Biden had decided to grant an interview to a celebrity instead of an actual journalist, particularly with the Democratic convention set to kick off this week.

.@JoeBiden can’t even sit down with a serious journalist for a long form interview but his handlers want you to believe he could stand up to China, or even the radicals in his own Party. pic.twitter.com/z5HP8fhI1O

Podcast host Stephen Miller noted that the friendly video chat took priority “before he [gave an interview] to Chris Wallace or Jonathan Swan [of Axios].” Fox News host Wallace slammed Biden last week for failing to appear on the Sunday news shows, calling it the “damnedest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Joe Biden gave an interview to Cardi B before he gave one to Chris Wallace or Jonathan Swan and they will all sit there and take it.

Some saw the issue as a racial one, pointing out that “white Democrats” often try to use black celebrities to persuade younger black people to vote for them.

With this Cardi B and Joe Biden interview being released, it reminds me:When are we gonna have the conversation about how white Democrats have tried to use celebrities, usually black ones, to persuade younger black voters to vote for them?They only want your vote. pic.twitter.com/YK2TLmIM4g

Journalist Jacob Shamsian noticed that Biden “artfully” dodged questions on Medicare-for-all and defunding the police during the talk – two policies which he has vocally opposed in the past.

Joe Biden artfully dodges Cardi B’s questions about free Medicare and police brutality pic.twitter.com/9cu7HU1gcB

Some conspicuous edits in the video also played into allegations that Biden is suffering from some kind of cognitive decline, given that he frequently stumbles through any interviews he does do, making plenty of “gaffes” along the way.

Joe Biden couldn’t even get through an interview with Cardi B without it being edited… Watch how the lighting and frame changes 3 times throughout this clip of one answer👀 pic.twitter.com/qEAF8KxLhw

Not everyone was so cynical, however. Biden supporters and some Cardi B fans took to Twitter to praise the interview. One gushed that it was “so important” and “mind blowing.”

Others honed in on the moment when Biden’s daughter popped into the frame to tell the rapper she used to call her father “Joey B” so they “may be related.”

This is so important right now for our political landscape. This is. Mind blowing. I cried. For once, I don’t feel like I’m watching a fucking dystopian novel come to life.

The Elle conversation was not Cardi B’s first sit down with a major presidential candidate – and Biden was certainly not her first choice for the White House. In 2019, she interviewed former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, who she had often vocally supported.

Biden has limited his media presence amid the coronavirus crisis, but critics say he is using the pandemic to stay out of the public eye to avoid prompting further concern over his mental fitness. 

Some online commentators have dubbed the candidate “Hidin’ Biden” for his back-seat approach to running for president – and Trump himself has played up those allegations, at one stage suggesting the Democrat “doesn’t know he’s alive.”

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