Black male leaders say Biden will lose election if he doesn't choose Black woman as VP

WASHINGTON – More than 100 Black male leaders, including activists, preachers, rappers and celebrities, in an open letter Monday called on Joe Biden to pick a Black woman as his running mate, saying that if he does not, he will lose the election.

"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 open letter said, which was published the week that Biden is expected to announce his running mate.

The letter was created in solidarity with an April letter signed by more than 700 black women leaders – including pastors, doctors, lawyers and celebrities – calling on Biden to "recognize and seize this moment" by picking a black woman as his running mate.

Rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, radio host Lenard “Charlamagne Tha God” Mckelvey, political commentator Van Jones, Bishop William J. Barber and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented George Floyd's family, were among the hundreds of men that signed onto the list.

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However, one man listed as having signed the letter, Eddie Glaude Jr., a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, said that he was asked to sign the letter but never saw it before his name was added.

Although he said he believes that Biden should "nominate a black woman for political reasons," like "loyalty, skilled constituency, etc.," Glaude also noted that he is "more interested in the policy than I am in easy racial/gender representation."

 "It is not enough to have a black woman on the ticket. We must have an agenda that speaks directly to the least of these and seeks to radically reimagine this nation," Glaude wrote on Twitter.

In the letter, the men criticized the vetting process for the Black women who are being considered as Biden's running mate. Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Karen Bass, former US Ambassador Susan Rice, Rep. Val Demings and former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams have all been floated as possible vice presidential contenders for Biden.

"It disgusts us that Black women are not just being vetted in this VP process but unfairly criticized and scrutinized," the Monday letter said.

POLITICO reported last month that former Sen. Chris Dodd, who is a member of Biden’s vice presidential search committee, criticized Harris for her clash with the former vice president at the first Democratic debate over his civil rights record. Dodd reportedly said: “She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’ She had no remorse."

Dodd's comments have drawn criticism from those who say Harris is being held to a standard that wouldn’t apply to a man.

"Why does Senator Kamala Harris have to show remorse for questioning Biden's previous stance on integrated busing during a democratic primary debate?" the letter said. "So, Black women are the only ones required to stay in their place and to show remorse for even questioning their own oppression?" 

A CNBC report last month said a group of Biden allies, including some donors, privately expressed concerns to the presumptive Democratic nominee that Harris is too ambitious and, were she to get the VP nod, might be too focused on positioning herself for a future presidential run of her own.

"Was Joe Biden ever labeled 'too ambitious' because he ran for president three times?" the letter said, adding "Should President (Barack) Obama not have made (Biden) the VP because he had to worry about his 'loyalty' when he clearly had AMBITIONS to be president himself?"

Last week, a letter signed by more than 100 Black women leaders last week criticized the "blatant disrespect of Black women" during the vetting process. Throughout the election cycle, Biden has faced concerns that he was not doing enough to reach out to people of color. He has also faced criticisms over some of his comments, including telling Charlamagne Tha God in a testy interview in May that African Americans who may be considering voting for Trump over him "ain’t black." Biden later apologized for the comment.

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In July, She The People, which advocates for women of color, outlined concerns about Biden's outreach to women of color, particularly in battleground states. One way to help gain support with the crucial voting bloc was for Biden to pick a woman of color as his running mate, the She the People memo stated.

The Monday open letter said that: "For too long Black women have been asked to do everything from rally the troops to risk their lives for the Democratic Party with no acknowledgment, no respect, no visibility, and certainly not enough support."

"Failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means you will lose the election," the letter continued. "We don't want to choose between the lesser of two evils and we don't want to vote for the devil we know versus the devil we don't because we are tired of voting for devils – period."

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