Joe Biden has delayed naming his vice presidential pick by two weeks amid worries the process has become a mess that has pitted women against woman.
Biden said last week he would announce his running mate the first week of August but that appears unlikely to happen this week as he hasn’t narrowed down his pick amid pressure to name a black woman.
But now that’s been moved back by two weeks, The Washington Post reported, amid worries from Biden supporters that the process has become ‘messier than it should be,’ pitting women – and especially black women – against one another.
The delay indicates there is no clear favorite among Biden or his allies to be his running mate.
The former vice president is reportedly going to speak to five or six contenders instead of having the traditional short list of three names.
And allies of all the contenders are lobbying the former vice president and his campaign to pick the running mate of their choice.
The presumptive Democratic nominee joked last week he would have to escape the TV camera crews that are parked outside of his Wilmington, Delaware, home so he could meet his pick without being caught.
‘I’m going to try to figure out how to trick you all so we can meet in person. I’ve got crews outside my house. I don’t think it matters actually. What I said is I’m going to have a choice in the first week in August, and I promise I’ll let you know when I do,’ he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
At least nearly a dozen women have been named as potential partners for Biden after he vowed to put a woman on the ticket with him. But, in the wake of the demonstrations that sprung up after the death of George Floyd, pressure has increased for him to name a black woman.
And, with that pressure, came an increased scrutiny on the potential female candidates with reports California Senator Kamala Harris is too ‘ambitious’ to be picked and pressure on Congresswoman Karen Bass to explain her past praise for Scientology and Fidel Castro.
‘It’s been relentless. It’s been unfortunate. But I must say it’s been predictable,’ Donna Brazile, a former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, told The Post. ‘It’s extremely disappointing, because many of these attacks . . . are being made by Democratic men who should know better.’
‘I would hope that in this selection process, we are mindful that Black women — and women of color — deserve respect,’ she noted.
The finalists are thought to include Harris, former national security adviser Susan Rice, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Karen Bass. And, of course, the pick could end being someone else.
Harris and Warren have already gone through some level of national vetting thanks to their presidential campaigns. Warren, a favorite of the progressives, would appease the left flank of the party if she joined the ticket but she is white when the pressure is on Biden to pick a black woman.
Harris has strong qualifications for the job but a report in Politico last week saw several Biden allies question how loyal the California senator would be to Biden given her attack on Biden in the July 2019 primary debate when she questioned his opposition to a busing program in the 1970s that she used to attend a better school.
Those Biden allies – both on the record and without using their names – indicated their concern Harris would be more consumed with a future presidential bid of her own.
Harris pushed back at the talk of her ‘ambition.’
‘There will be a resistance to your ambition,’ she told young black women on Friday during a Black Girls Lead 2020 conference. ‘There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane,’ because they are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t you let that burden you.’
And she was defended by Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, who tweeted: ‘Ambitious women make history, change the world, and win.’
Biden is said to be comfortable with Rice, who worked with him in the Obama administration, and is said to envision with her the kind of partnership he had with Obama. While she is an expert on foreign policy, she has no previous political experience.
The former vice president is said to want a running mate who would have a similar relationship with him that he enjoyed with President Barack Obama.
Bass took the Sunday shows this weekend to push back on comments she made in 2016 praising Fidel Castro and calling his death a loss to the Cuban people.
She told ‘Fox News Sunday’ her perspective on the late Cuban dictator was ‘developed over time’ and that she now understood that the Castro government ‘was a brutal regime.’ She said she would not make similar comments again.
Bass also had to defend remarks she made in 2010 praising the Church of Scientology. She spoke at Scientology ceremony when she was in the California state assembly.
‘Back in 2010, I attended the event knowing I was going to address a group of people with beliefs very different than my own, and spoke briefly about things I think most of us agree with, and on those things — respect for different views, equality, and fighting oppression — my views have not changed,’ she wrote on Twitter. ‘Since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group.’
She also noted she worships at First New Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in South LA.
Bass, who serves as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has a lot of support among Congressional Democrats, who have voiced that to Biden and his surrogates.
She has also privately reassured Biden allies she has no interest in the top spot and would be a loyal lieutenant, The New York Times reported.
Biden, if he wins in November, would be almost 82 years old on inauguration day, meaning his choice of a running mate could be of even greater consequence.