Former National Press Secretary for the Kamala Harris Presidential Campaign Ian Sams joins MSNBC’s Craig Melvin to weigh in on the historic selection of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential candidate.
Joe Biden’s “racist concepts” may be to blame for recent controversial statements the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee made about the nation’s Black and Latino communities, an Ohio Republican says.
Ken Blackwell, an African-American conservative activist who served as mayor of Cincinnati and Ohio state treasurer, among other positions, was among critics who reacted Thursday to a pre-recorded interview in which Biden suggested Blacks were a less “incredibly diverse” community than Latinos, and that Blacks were more likely to vote as a bloc in elections – rather than make independent-minded choices at the polls.
But Biden’s view just isn’t so, Blackwell, 72 — who was mayor of Cincinnati from 1979-1980, Ohio state treasurer from 1994-1999 and Ohio secretary of state from 1999-2007 – argued in a video posted on social media.
“Individuality. Free will. Fashioned in the image of God. Joe Biden doesn’t believe that these notions, these concepts, apply to Black people,” Blackwell said. “He doesn’t believe that we have an individual conscience, that we have a free will, that we are not humanoids, that we’re not the products of group-thinking.
“We are, in fact, fashioned in the image of God and we, in fact, think according to our conscience.”
Blackwell, a Fox News contributor, then suggested that the views Biden expressed in the interview that went public Thursday stemmed from the former vice president’s long-held but flawed beliefs.
“Joe Biden’s racist concepts continue to flow from not only his history but from his current statements,” Blackwell concluded. “C’mon, Joe.”
“Joe Biden’s racist concepts continue to flow from not only his history but from his current statements. C’mon, Joe.”
In the interview, which aired at the convention of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Biden contrasted the Black and Latino communities.
“Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things,” Biden claimed.
Biden later made similar remarks while speaking virtually to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference. In that appearance, he vowed that if elected, his administration would reflect “the full diversity of this nation” as well as “the full diversity of the Latino communities.”
“Now what I mean [by] full diversity [is], unlike the African American community and many other communities, you’re from everywhere,” Biden explained. “You’re from Europe, from the tip of South America, all the way to our border in Mexico, and the Caribbean. And [of] different backgrounds, different ethnicities, but all Latinos. We’re gonna get a chance to do that if we win in November.”
After critics, including President Trump, derided Biden’s comments as insulting to the nation’s African-Americans, Biden tried to clarify his remarks via Twitter.
“Earlier today, I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify,” Biden wrote. “In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all.”
“Throughout my career,” Biden continued, “I’ve witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community. It’s this diversity that makes our workplaces, communities, and country a better place.”
It was far from the first time Biden has dealt with blowback following race-related remarks. Some past examples:
In May, Biden did a radio interview with host Charlamagne tha God and suggested that Black voters “ain’t black” if they decided to support President Trump.
In August 2019, Biden told a crowd in Iowa that “poor kids are just as bright and talented as White kids.”
In June 2019, used the term “gangbanger” when referring to disadvantaged Black youths, drawing criticism from fellow Democrat Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who is African-American.
That same month, Biden was for fondly recalling his past work with former U.S. senators who were known to support racial segregation.
Joe Biden’s VP pick could be his biggest decision of 2020. Below are his possible running mates:
WASHINGTON — As Joe Biden nears the announcement of his vice presidential choice, the top contenders and their advocates are making final appeals.
The campaign hasn’t finalized a date for naming a running mate, but three people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans said a public announcement likely wouldn’t happen before the week of Aug. 10. That’s one week before Democrats will hold their convention to officially nominate Biden as their presidential nominee.
Biden said in May that he hoped to name his pick around Aug. 1 and told reporters this week that he would “have a choice in the first week of August.” He notably stopped short of saying when he would announce that choice.
Running mates are often announced on the eve of a convention. As he prepares to make his choice, a committee established to vet possible running mates has provided Biden with briefing materials. Biden will likely soon begin one-on-one conversations with those under consideration, which could be the most consequential part of the process for a presidential candidate who values personal connections.
The leading contenders include California Sen. Kamala Harris, California Rep. Karen Bass and Obama national security adviser Susan Rice. The deliberations remain fluid, however, and the campaign has reviewed nearly a dozen possible running mates.
“For Joe Biden, this is crunch time. After all the vetting, all the investigations into the prospective nominees, it’s now up to Joe. It’s personal,” said former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was vetted for vice president in 2008. “It’s now about his gut feeling.”
Representatives for Biden declined to comment for this story.
The selection amounts to the most significant choice Biden has confronted in his nearly five-decade political career. He has pledged to select a woman and is facing calls to choose the first Black woman to compete on a presidential ticket.
Given the historic significance of the moment, some are urging Biden not to let the announcement linger too long.
Marty Walsh is looking for a lifeboat.
He’d never admit it publicly, but I believe Hizzoner would much prefer not to have to run for a third term next year. The city is in ruins, and you don’t want to go down in the record books as the first mayor to be defeated for re-election since James Michael Curley in 1949.
But lifeboats are hard to come by, and Marty’s basically only got one option — Dementia Joe Biden. He was with Joe back in the dark days after the New Hampshire primary last winter, so he’s kind of owed something.
Secretary of Labor maybe? Given his past career in “da trades,” Marty wouldn’t even have to buy himself a new pinky ring for his swearing in.
So is Marty trying to suck up to his potential future boss? I started wondering about this the other day during a cringe-worthy press conference in which the mayor was as tongue-tied, befuddled and inarticulate as, well, as Joe Biden.
Over the past 72 hours, for instance, Joe Biden has invented two new job classifications — “voter registration physicians” and “pay-care givers.” He’s revealed the existence of a new virus — “COVID-9.” He has announced his proposal for both “elderly childhood education” and a “child clare pan.” And he denounced “Islamic-phobia.”
Hard to match, let alone top that kind of incoherence, but Marty tried his best the other day. He seemed nervous, perhaps because he feared being asked about his new BFF, Monica Cannon-Grant. That Globe poster gal was about to be busted on her racist rants against Rayla Campbell, the GOP candidate for Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s Congressional seat.
Whatever the reason for his discomfort, Marty was channeling Dementia Joe bigtime.
Remember Biden exhorting his followers to text him at “Joe 3-0-3-3-0?”
Marty informed his minions how to stay in touch – “that’s boston dot gov slash b-c-y-f slash dot uh slash summer.”
Which was even more incoherent than the late mayor Mumbles Menino’s plea for stay in touch at “boston-dot-gov-dot.”
Speaking of Mumbles, he used to resent appearing at events with other politicians who might be more, shall we say, articulate. He’d silently seethe and fume at anyone who could speak in complete sentences. At least a few Boston pols taught themselves to dumb down while on stage with Mumbles.
Is Marty trying to … ape Joe Biden, by appearing as lost as his would-be patron? Here’s Marty doing his best Biden:
“We continue to move forward um curiously uh in step one of phase three of the state’s reopening plan — excuse me, cautiously, not curiously. It’s kind of curious too. We’re not sure when this is gonna end so I guess it’s a little bit of both.”
Which is a better fumble recovery than Joe has ever managed during this fight. Although that raises another point — how much does it mean to suck up to Joe six months out from Jan. 20? I mean, Joe has major problems recalling what happened a half-hour ago.
What are the odds Joe remembers anything, period?
Like the vice president, Marty now loses himself in numbers — “uh, 113, 789, uh 113-thousand-789.”
And then there’s Walsh’s tendency to misread prepared statements, mostly because he obviously doesn’t review the notes before he begins reading them for the cameras:
“And if your rent-relief fund, we have a rent-relief fund that continues. … This is the work that we are doing using creative strategies to make public safe — public safer spaces safer during this pandemic … it’s being done with no regards for the rights-a — safety of protesters and it ‘pears to be needlessly escalating situation.”
I’m not familiar with the verb “’pears.” I believe he was trying to say “appears.” This, after Biden last week referred to the police “protecting” the public, only he said “’tecting.”
Let’s return to Joe Biden for a moment, to get a handle on the direction Walsh is moving in. Uncle Joe is talking now about law enforcement.
“They need as part of their departments people who are, are engaged in mental health capacity, mental health not just for them, but for but for the cases they go out on they — all this doesn’t require a policeman. Much of it does.”
Ya think, Mr. Vice President?
I also question the tactic of Biden accusing President Trump of being “confused.” Pot, meet kettle.
“He’s not thinking very clearly if he continues to think he can have wide open wide open the the state and do you have you have uh a hunnert – a 145 thousand 277 positive cases.”
Memo to both Marty and Joe: avoid the numbers. Stick to anarchy in the U.S.
At one point, Marty came up with a new line that Joe Biden might soon be incorporating into his Basement Tapes. This was about the feds swarming into Portland, Ore.:
“We’ve seen the footage of unidentified federal officers aggressively detaining protesters.”
Unidentified federal officers? As in … UFOs?
It’s only a matter of time until Joe starts babbling about seeing UFOs in the wrecked blue cities.
Good job, Marty. There may be a post-mayoral future for you after all. As long as you don’t get photographed with Monica Cannon-Grant.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has lined up a senior team in Iowa, a sign Democrats see the state where Republican Donald Trump beat them handily in 2016 as within reach.
Although Iowa’s six Electoral College votes hardly make the state a political jackpot, a competitive race for them this fall could signal problems for Trump in other northern states he won by smaller margins and would likely need to carry again to win reelection, chiefly Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“I don’t know who will win Iowa, but I think the state is in contention in a way that six months ago you might not have suspected,” said David Axelrod, a former senior strategist to President Barack Obama. “The fact that Iowa is a close race means that those other states are very much in jeopardy for Trump.”
Biden has named veteran Democratic operative Jackie Norris as the senior adviser for his general election team in Iowa, where Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by 9.4 percentage points in 2016, the campaign confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday.
Norris, who was president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa until May, was the senior adviser to Obama’s winning 2008 Iowa caucus campaign and later directed Obama’s winning 2008 Iowa general election campaign before being tapped to serve as Michelle Obama’s first chief of staff in Washington.
Joining Norris as Biden’s Iowa campaign director is Lauren Dillon, who directed Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s 2020 Iowa caucus campaign. She was a senior advertising strategist for Democratic Senate candidates during the 2018 midterm elections after serving in several roles at the Democratic National Committee.
A Des Moines Register poll last month showed the race nearly tied in Iowa. Trump led Biden by more than 10 percentage points in the Register’s March poll.
The tightening in Iowa follows incremental gains by Democrats since Trump carried the state.
After a decade of steady Republican gains capped by Trump’s 2016 win, Democrats ousted two Republican House members in 2018, while also picking up seats in the legislature. Democrats have since pulled near even with Republicans in voter registration for the first time in seven years.
Trump’s campaign spent more than $400,000 in Iowa from April through late June, according to advertising data obtained by the AP. Meanwhile, Trump has reserved at least $5 million in advertising time in Iowa this fall, according to Advertising Analytics, a nonpartisan ad-tracking group.
“Trump folks know it is in play because they are advertising here,” said former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat who endorsed Biden last year.
Biden aides declined to say whether they planned an Iowa advertising campaign, though Democratic operatives unaffiliated with the campaign suggested one would be likely should the race remain close, given how relatively inexpensive television time is in the state.
Besides Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Biden has staff organizing in Arizona, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina.
The Trump campaign named a senior Iowa team almost a year ago, including Eric Branstad, son of former Gov. Terry Branstad, as senior adviser.
Though Trump campaign aides declined to comment on the advertising, campaign spokesperson Preya Samsundar said the campaign had made more than a million voter contacts in the state and had volunteers in all of Iowa’s 99 counties.
Joe Biden, get back in that basement!
No more live press conferences for you like Tuesday’s in Delaware, not if you want to keep that wide lead in the same polls that four years ago this week showed Hillary Clinton with almost exactly the same margins over Donald J. Trump.
And we all know how that 2016 election turned out.
Being outside the basement amongst the public, on live national TV, is when the Biden campaign is most at risk, or, as you slurred Tuesday in Wilmington, “mosk at wrist.”
Creepy Joe said so much Tuesday, but my favorite line might be, “Numbers don’t lie.”
This, from a guy who last week announced that “now we have over 120 million dead from COVID.”
He accused President Trump of “waving the right flag — white flag.”
Asked if he’s had a COVID test, he said, “No, I have not been protected — I have not been tested for the coronavirus.”
He denounced Trump’s tweets as “midnight rantings,” only he said “midnight rampings.”
And he recalled Trump in March “when he extorted the nation — exhorted.”
He said President Trump had accused health care workers of “stealing your masts.” Not masks, masts. He talked about medical equipment being “baskly needed.”
And this was the best he could when he was reading off the teleprompter. Imagine him in a two-hour live debate against POTUS. The Democrats can’t imagine it, that’s for sure, that’s why they’re already walking back their three-debate pledge.
Remember Tara Reade, his former Senate aide who accused him of raping her back in the 1990s?
Of course the mainstream media gives Tara Reade a good leaving alone, just like Tuesday they also didn’t ask him about the federal court filing last week of a FBI agent that Biden was the one who in January 2017 suggested using the unconstitutional Logan Act to frame Gen. Michael Flynn.
Still, though, how could you not think about the alleged assault on Tara Reade when Biden said this about being stuck in the basement for the last three months.
“I’d much rather be out there with people because that’s where I get the greatest feel, I can get a sense of the look in their eyes, by their plaintive voices.”
What was the look in Tara Reade’s eyes, Mr. Vice President? Her plaintive voice? And did you get “the greatest feel?”
Biden has surged ahead in spite of the fact that according to two other recent polls, somewhere between 38 and 55% of the population has already concluded that Creepy Joe is in some stage of dementia — or as somebody put it Tuesday, Biden’s putting the “dem” back in dementia.
This inconvenient truth is why Joe’s handlers, or keepers, made sure that media availability was restricted Tuesday. He had a list of reporters to call upon, crack scribes who the campaign had apparently decided could be relied upon to do the right thing.
“They gave me a list who to recognize,” he babbled.
“Is Alex AP out there?” he began. Not Alex from the Associated Press, but “Alex AP,” because that’s what it said on his note card.
“I was told NBC Mike.”
Since he was in his official home state of Delaware, Biden of course had to take a question from his local daily newspaper. Only one problem: he couldn’t remember the name of the sheet.
“Where’s the uh, where’s the Wilmington, uh Delaware State News, I mean Delaware News Journal I should say.”
Could this problem of Joe’s be contagious among his fellow wrinkly Democrats? I mean, just in the past few days, Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to the late George Floyd as “George Kirby,” who was a black comedian who went to prison for selling cocaine.
Then, Sen. Chuck Schumer called Floyd “Floyd Taylor … George Taylor.”
But now Joe’s their man. He took one final question — somehow a real reporter from Fox News had sneaked in, and he asked Biden an impertinent question about “cognitive decline.”
“You lyin’ dog face,” Biden snarled, a variation on his blast on the coed last winter in New Hampshire, whom he called “a lyin’ dog face pony soldier.”
I’m sure CNN and MSNBC last night played up Biden’s emergence from the cellar as a tour de force, but my bet is you won’t see him above ground for at least another month.
Get back in the basement, Joe!
“Nevertheless, she persisted.”
That short phrase became Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s badge of honor after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the remark in defense of silencing Warren’s objections to the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General in 2017.
Warren was interrupted as she read from a letter written by Coretta Scott King about Sessions.
McConnell noted on the Senate floor: “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
And a feminist hashtag was born.
Back then, the phrase embodied Warren as a barrier-breaking, fight-for-the-little-guy leader.
Today, it’s a bleat about a pol who won’t get off the stage.
In the horse race that marked the final months of the Democratic presidential primary race, Warren was a contender, swapping first, second and third position with Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Until she couldn’t make it past the head of the stretch and called it quits.
One of the reasons given for her slide in the polls (and poor performance at the voting booth) was her perceived “electability” — how likely she was to beat Trump in November.
A few months ago, that was top of mind.
But a moral earthquake shook America between then and now, and we’re still feeling the aftershocks, as protests continue over racial injustice, police reform and equality for people of color.
Biden said he would pick a woman running mate, back when “electability” was the overriding issue.
A good pol knows how to read the room, and if Biden has learned anything from his decades on the beat it’s that Democratic voters are signaling that they want something more.
In April, more than 200 Black women leaders and activists in the Democratic party signed an open letter to Biden calling on him to select a Black woman as his running mate.
“It is a fact that the road to the White House is powered by Black women and Black women are the key to a Democratic victory in 2020,” they wrote.
“I’m even more convinced than ever that when we see what is happening right now in this country, there is a cry, there’s a clarion call, for us to do something different, for this country to literally face structural racism … We feel like a Black woman could actually bring that to the ticket,” LaTosha Brown, the co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund and a political strategist told NPR Radio.
The country is having a moment — and that moment is not about Elizabeth Warren.
Yes, she ticks off all the progressive boxes that delight Democrats today — free college, the Green New Deal — but this is not the time for a white woman who padded her resume with false claims of Native American ancestry to have another go at winning the hearts and mind of voters of color.
Not that there was ever a good time to do that.
Polling whiz Nate Silver told ABC News that Trump’s troubles could lead to a “landslide” for Biden.
“Joe Biden leads by around 9 points in our national polling average, and that lead has been growing,” he said.
“So, Trump needs to make a comeback, and there is plenty of time for that, and maybe also get some help from the Electoral College,” Silver added.
Trump is being pummeled in the polls, but as 2016 showed us, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.
And for Biden, the difference between the winner’s circle and a concession speech could well hinge on his pick for VP.
In 2016, Donald Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, three states Republican’s hadn’t won in years. While many believe Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s likeliest win would come from taking back the midwest, Chris Cillizza explains why that conventional wisdom may not be Biden’s best bet.
There are literally reams of records — like court filings and sworn testimony — that shed light on the complicated backstory. Here’s a breakdown of Trump’s far-fetched accusations, Biden’s wobbly responses to basic questions, and the facts you need to know.
Specifically, Trump has claimed these surreptitious efforts targeted Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, and that “Biden knew” about it, which the evidence doesn’t support.
To further link Biden alleged wrongdoing against Flynn, the Trump administration declassified sensitive information about US intelligence reports that mentioned Flynn during the transition. Biden or one of his staffers accessed at least one of these reports, which Trump now says proves his theory.
The FBI investigated Flynn not because of a “deep state” plot, but because of concerns about his unusual phone calls with the Russian ambassador during the transition, and because he and other Trump officials publicly lied about those conversations. In the early stages of the investigation, the FBI was doing counterintelligence work to flesh out Flynn’s ties to the Russian government and understand the scope of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
How has Biden responded?
For his part, Biden has largely avoided addressing the conspiracies around the opaque “Obamagate” narrative crafted by Trump and his allies, calling it a “diversion” and instead hitting Trump on his fumbled US response to coronavirus, and issues like health care and tax cuts.
But Biden was asked about it directly in two television interviews last week. But Biden’s answers — and even the questions themselves — provided more confusion than clarity.
“I know nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn,” Biden replied.
Moments later, Biden said he misunderstood the earlier question, explaining, “I thought you asked me whether or not I had anything to do with him being prosecuted.” In this context, his denial makes sense, because the “prosecution” of Flynn didn’t happen until December 2017.
That wasn’t the only misstatement during the interview. In a follow-up question, Stephanopoulos inaccurately said that Biden was told at a January 2017 meeting in the Oval Office that the FBI was planning to question Flynn about his suspicious contacts with the Russian ambassador.
“I was aware that there was, that they had asked for an investigation,” Biden responded, apparently referring to the FBI. “But that’s all I know about it. I don’t think anything else.”
Despite Trump’s claims, there’s no proof Obama or Biden knew beforehand that Flynn would be questioned by the FBI. This is a key point, because Trump claims that the FBI interview of Flynn was an illegal “set-up,” and that Obama and Biden were responsible for laying what Trump and his allies have called a “perjury trap.”
The Biden campaign declined to comment for this story. They declined to answer specific questions about the White House meeting and Biden’s knowledge of the Flynn investigation.
Did Biden later change his story?
Biden responded with an adamant denial. “I was never a part or had any knowledge of any criminal investigation into Flynn while I was in office, period,” he said. “Not one single time.”
Trump’s allies pounced and claimed that Biden was caught in a lie. First, he told ABC that he knew about an investigation — but then he told MSNBC that he didn’t know. What gives?
A close reading of Biden’s comments suggests that he has some wiggle room to argue that he has been consistent. In the first comment, he said he knew “they,” presumably the FBI, were looking into Flynn. At that point, there was a counterintelligence investigation to figure out Flynn’s ties to Russia. In the second comment, Biden said he didn’t know about any “criminal” investigation.
The Biden campaign declined multiple requests to clear up the timeline of what Biden knew.
What has Trump claimed about Biden?
Biden hasn’t factored much into the conversation about the Russia investigation that has been going on since 2017 — his name doesn’t even appear in Mueller’s report. But this spring, Trump and his allies at right-wing news outlets, have tried to connect Biden to the Russia investigation.
“I think Obama and Biden knew about it,” Trump said Monday of the supposed plot to sabotage his presidency. “They were participants, so I’m a little surprised by those statements.”
Last week, Trump said, “President Obama and Vice President Biden, they knew everything.”
What about unmasking?
Trump also focused on another element of the controversy — something called “unmasking.”
Information about Americans is anonymized in US intelligence reports for privacy reasons. But there are instances when US officials who read these reports need to see the full picture. To make that happen, they need to provide a justification to the agency that produced the report. If the agency grants that request, the information is “unmasked.”
This is a very routine practice — it is done by officials authorized to view these details and requests have ramped up in the Trump administration.
The records indicate that Biden or a staffer requested an unmasking on January 12, 2017.
Biden has not commented publicly about this, and his campaign declined explain to CNN why he made the requests or what justification was provided to the National Security Agency. But the Trump-appointed NSA director said these requests were vetted before being approved.
The Biden campaign did release a blistering statement about unmasking last week, from spokesman Andrew Bates, who said Trump was trying to “distract” from coverage of his coronavirus response, and accused Republicans of “abusing” and politicizing US intelligence.
“Importantly, none of these individuals could have known Flynn’s identity beforehand,” Bates said. “These documents have absolutely nothing to do with any FBI investigation and they confirm that all normal procedures were followed — any suggestion otherwise is a flat out lie.”
What happens next?
There are no indications that Trump will back down his conspiracy-filled allegations against Biden. If anything, Trump’s campaign has signaled that it wants to keep this issue in the news.
With Biden unclear in his public comments, and his campaign unwilling to publicly provide a clear timeline of the facts as they see them, it will be easy for Trump to continue dominating the conversation. He has the largest megaphone in the world, and he’s more than happy to use it.