More than 100 prominent Black American men called on Monday for Joe Biden to pick a Black woman as his running mate, as the former vice president closes in on his decision.
Entertainment mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, radio personality and “The Breakfast Club” co-host Lenard “Charlamagne Tha God” McKelvey, former NFL defensive end Michael Bennett, civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump and many others signed the open letter to Biden.
“As someone who has said throughout the campaign that VP Joe Biden needs to choose a Black woman VP, the urgency for that pick has gone from something that SHOULD happen to something that HAS to happen,” the letter said.
The letter denounced the treatment of some of Biden’s potential picks, including Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., over her perceived ambition and her debate attacks on Biden’s civil rights record when she was a rival candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“It disgusts us that Black women are not just being vetted in this VP process but unfairly criticized and scrutinized,” the letter said. “Was Joe Biden ever labeled ‘too ambitious’ because he ran for president three times? ... Why does Senator Kamala Harris have to show remorse for questioning Biden's previous stance on integrated busing during a Democratic primary debate?”
Among the names on the letter are entertainer Nick Cannon, Bishop William J. Barber and CNN political contributor Van Jones. No nationally prominent Black political figures were listed as signers.
The letter isn’t the first time Combs and Charlamagne Tha God have talked about Biden’s campaign. Biden made headlines in May when, during an interview on Charlamagne’s radio show, Biden said Black Americans who support President Trump “ain’t Black.”
In an interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell in April, Combs said Biden must show how he will improve the lives of Black and brown people if he wants the “Black vote,” Black Enterprise reported.
Harris is said to be a leading contender for Biden’s nod, along with former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice. Others under consideration are Rep. Karen Bass of California, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, USA Today reported. Harris, Rice, Bass and Demings are Black.
Whitmer traveled to Delaware last weekend to meet with Biden, a possible indication that she’s on the shortlist, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
Biden has vowed to pick a woman as his vice president. But Monday’s letter said that is not enough.
“Failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means you will lose the election,” it said. “We don’t want to choose between the lesser of two evils, and we don’t want to vote the devil we know versus the devil we don’t because we are tired of voting for devils — period.”
In April, hundreds of Black women signed an open letter asking Biden to choose a Black woman as his vice president.
“We the undersigned Black women leaders from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, from both the public and the private sectors, who have all, time and time again supported the Democratic party nationally and across the country — are writing to recommend and encourage you to recognize and seize this moment in our country’s history, and its bold future, by selecting a Black woman to serve as your vice presidential running mate,” the letter said.
Biden is expected to make a decision this week.
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