Biden Campaign Says Just Over a Third of 2020 Staff Members Are People of Color

Biden Campaign Says Just Over a Third of 2020 Staff Members Are People of Color

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. released statistics on the diversity of his presidential campaign staff on Saturday evening, announcing that 35 percent of his full-time staff members and 36 percent of his full-time senior staff members are people of color.

A majority of Mr. Biden’s staff members and senior staff members are women — 53 percent and 58 percent, respectively.

Mr. Biden’s campaign had, for months, declined to provide such an accounting. The new figures, which are self-reported, come as the Biden campaign was in the midst of a major hiring spree and only hours after Mr. Biden had been pressed at a virtual town hall event about having failed to provide such statistics earlier.

Mr. Biden has been rapidly expanding his staff across the country since he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in early April, a process that has remade the complexion of both his senior staff and the campaign as a whole.

Mr. Biden has faced questions about the lack of racial diversity in the uppermost ranks of his campaign, as his inner circle of most trusted advisers — some of whom have had his ear for decades — skews heavily white. His current and former campaign managers are both white, as are four of the people who have served as deputy campaign manager, his three chiefs of staff as vice president (all still influential), and many of his top communications and policy advisers. The Latino and Asian-American political communities have expressed particular concern; Mr. Biden has had greater black representation at the upper levels of his campaign structure.

Last December, Mr. Biden told NPR: “I have the most diverse staff of anybody running. I’ve always done that.” But he refused at the time to provide any evidence that was true. Politico wrote at the time that the rival campaigns of Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders had reported that about 40 percent of their full-time staff members were people of color.

In the general election, Mr. Biden is running against President Trump, who counts virtually no people of color among his most trusted advisers. Polls show Mr. Biden dominating Mr. Trump among black voters and leading widely among Latinos.

Since Mr. Biden became the presumptive nominee, he has hired several racially diverse people at the top levels, including Karine Jean-Pierre and Julie Chavez Rodriguez as senior advisers, as well as a new chief financial officer and a new senior adviser for financial operations, among others.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Biden was pressed by Amna Nawaz, a correspondent for “PBS NewsHour” and one of the moderators of a virtual presidential town hall event hosted by Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, about why he had to that point declined to release any staff diversity data. Specifically, she asked Mr. Biden about having “no Asian-American senior advisers — please correct me if I’m wrong.”

Mr. Biden did not cite any Asian-American senior advisers by name but defended his “diverse staff that goes across the board, and high-level and senior positions.” He pledged to release staff data later Saturday, and his campaign did.

“My administration is going to look like America — not just my staff; the administration, from the vice president straight down through cabinet members to major players within the White House and the court,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s going to be a reflection of who we are as a nation.”

Alida Garcia, the founder of Inclusv, an organization that seeks to ensure staff members of color are hired in political campaigns and organizations, said that the group was working with the Biden campaign “on increasing these numbers in coming months.”

Ms. Garcia added that she hoped the Biden campaign would divulge data for different ethnic groups “so individual communities would be able to advocate for themselves.”


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