Joe Biden pledged in March that he would choose a woman to be his vice presidential running mate. Since then, Black Democrats, activists and influencers have been pressuring the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to select an African American woman.
Over the weekend, however, some Democrats were disappointed after news circulated that Biden met with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is white, to discuss the vice presidency.
“He better pick a Black woman. If he picks Gretchen, he’ll lose Michigan,” said Virgie Rollins, chair of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus.
“There are a lot of Black people mad at her [Whitmer] in this state,” Rollins told POLITICO, citing the governor’s reaction to the Flint water crisis in which that city’s water supply was contaminated with lead.
During a July 20 appearance on Joy Reid’s MSNBC prime time show "The Reid Out," Biden confirmed that he had narrowed his list of potential running mates down and that four African American women are on his shortlist. Although he has not publicly named everyone on that list, several major political figures are said to be on it. California Sen. Kamala Harris, Florida Rep. Val Demings, former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, California Rep. Karen Bass former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms have all been mentioned.
“I don’t want to bash Whitmer, but I could not stand by quietly while we were putting these women, these Black women, out there to take all these hits,” said Pamela Pugh, vice president of the Michigan State Board of Education.
Former mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver, noted that Biden’s rumored list of Black women have been hammered by the media while Whitmer has been “protected.”
“Nobody’s talking about what was promised in Flint that hasn’t happened,” Weaver said.
“If he picks the governor of Michigan, she might not be able to move the Black vote for him because a lot of people are upset with her,” said Latosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter.
“At the end of the day, if Joe Biden can’t get the white Midwestern vote, then we’re all up the creek,” she added. “The whole point of Black folks voting for him is he’s supposed to deliver the white people. If he can’t deliver the white Midwestern vote, like what the heck did we vote for you for?”
Meanwhile, a group of 100 prominent Black men have signed a statement of solidarity calling on Biden to select an African-American woman as his vice presidential running mate.
The group, which stretches across several fields includes rap empresario Sean “Diddy” Combs; radio personality Charlamagne Tha God; film producer Will Packer; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul; University of Virginia medical school dean Marcus Martin; North Carolina assembly member Derwin Montgomery and commentator Van Jones among many others.
Biden is expected to unveil his running mate this week, ahead of the Democratic National Convention, which begins Aug. 17.
Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
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