For today’s (July 1) episode of Black Coffee, Symone Sanders, a senior advisor for former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, sat down with Marc Lamont Hill and discussed Biden’s positions on some of the most polarizing issues.
The conversation kicked off with abortion and, more specifically, the debate over the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions. The vice president has voted in favor of the controversial 1977 Amendment and its continuation on numerous occasions but it’s something Sanders says almost all Democratic candidates currently running have also voted for or supported at least once. She says Biden has been honest about his past stances on abortion and believes in a woman’s right to choose.
“He personally, frankly is against abortion but he believes in Roe v. Wade, he believes Roe v. Wade should be codified into law, he believes we have to ferociously protect a woman’s right to choose, especially given this current climate where state legislators across the country are trampling on the rights of women, particularly low income women, particularly women of color,” Sanders replied. “So I think it could be something difficult for some people to understand but look I like people that have values and morals and have some baseline for which they stand.”
On reparations, Joe Biden has previously taken a stance against an implemented program and even the idea of it. He’s also not currently taken a position on it like some of his opponents, like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, have. Sanders says Biden is interested in collecting data and information about reparations so he can make an informed decision about what to do next.
“You had a lot of people come out talking about reparations that literally did not have a plan for reparations, had not even given a thought to reparations and what that meant before they got a press inquiry,” she said. “What the vice president believes is we have to get the data to have an informed conversation about reparations, that there are a number of people having – again – what is the definition we’re using, what does the data say? He believes we have to get the data. If the question on the table is, ‘Should people get reparations?’ I think we have to have an informed conversation, we can’t have an informed conversation without the data points: who are the people, are we talking about money, there’s research that has to go behind this, and that’s the vice president’s stance.”
In polls that were released after last Wednesday and Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debates, it was revealed that Joe Biden had taken quite a tumble for his performance, but Sanders says she believes the vice president relayed his message about the issues in a very personal and direct manner.
“I think he spoke very candidly and he talked very personally about healthcare, we had a conversation about climate change, we got in points about our education policy, we got in points about foreign policy – that is a place the vice president has an extensive, extensive experience,” she said.
But when Biden’s fiery exchange with Senator Kamala Harris was brought up, Sanders says Biden was respectful and listened to Harris’ experience with busing and how it helped her succeed at a school she might not have been able to attend had a busing program not been implemented in her community.
“We did have somewhat of a fiery exchange with Senator Harris,” she admits. “I think Senator Harris told her story. The vice president respects Senator Harris, he listened, and I think the next day we went to, well we were already going to the Rainbow Push Coalition with Reverend [Jesse] Jackson and we used that opportunity to speak very frankly for where the vice president really is.”
She continued, “There were folks saying he was making a states rights argument and I wanna bat that down unequivocally because that’s not what he believes.”
Also during the conversation, Symone Sanders briefly discussed Joe Biden’s beliefs about healthcare, which she says he thinks is a right for all Americans, and her experiences so far being a senior advisor for the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
See the full conversation below.