Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, told MSNBC on Monday that four Black women are on his shortlist for vice president — putting him closer to selecting a running mate a month before he accepts the party's nomination.
Biden told MSNBC's Joy Reid on the premiere of her prime-time show, "The ReidOut," however, that he would not guarantee that a Black woman will be his running mate.
"I am not committed to naming any but the people I've named, and among them are four Black women," Biden said.
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If elected, Biden, 77, would be the oldest president-elect, which has put an intense focus on his pick for a running mate. Biden has spoken often of seeing himself as a transitional president, leading many political watchers to believe his running mate could eventually be the leader of the Democratic Party and, if Biden wins in November, the likely presidential nominee in 2024.
He said that it will take about six weeks to complete the vetting and that his campaign is doing a "detailed analysis" of contenders to narrow the list before next month's nearly all-virtual convention in Milwaukee.
"Black women have supported me my whole career," Biden said. "I have been loyal, and they have been loyal to me — and so it's important that my administration, I promise you, will look like America."
He added, "Both from vice president to Supreme Court to Cabinet positions to every major position in the White House. It's critically important that be the case."
Other highlights of the interview:
- Biden sharply criticized Trump's coronavirus response, saying the president "surrendered" and put up the "white flag" dealing with COVID-19. "I have never seen a president who has been so self-serving in the conduct of the office," he said.
- Biden said that he would appoint a "vaccine czar," that he would pour $25 billion into coordinating vaccine distribution to every American and conducting more testing and contact tracing, and that he would continue to give federal stimulus aid to small businesses and Americans who are struggling economically.
- Trump has "absolutely zero sense of empathy," Biden said of the president's attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act as Americans are suffering from the virus and many are unemployed. "He talks about taking away health insurance, and he says he's going to replace it with what? I quite frankly don't get it," Biden said. "I don't know how he thinks it appeals to the American people."
- Biden said that foreign interference in U.S. elections is a "violation of our sovereignty" and that if it happens, "there will be response in kind — it will not go unstated, unnoticed or unreported." Russian President Vladimir Putin "knows I mean what I say," he said.