USA

Duckworth declines to say Biden should select Black woman as running mate

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a contender to become former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate, on Sunday declined to explicitly state whether the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee should select an African-American woman to join him on the party’s 2020 ticket.

“The Biden campaign have their own process that they’re going through, and I’m sure Vice President Biden will pick the right person to be next to him as he digs this country out of the mess that Donald Trump has put us in,” the Illinois Democrat told CNN’s “State of the Union,” describing Black women as a “key to the victory for Democrats.”

“I will do whatever I need to do to support him,” Duckworth said of Biden. “You know, it’s one team, one fight. And if that means I have to go sweep floors at a VA hospital, and that's the best thing I can do to help him win, then that's what I will do.”

Pressed further by host Dana Bash on whether Biden needs to choose a Black woman as his vice presidential nominee, Duckworth again did not offer a definitive response, instead arguing that he “needs to make his own mind and will make his own mind.”

“I don’t think it’s on any of us to dictate to him. He knows best who he needs as a vice president, who can help him connect with the American people, who can help him overcome the crises that we’re operating under right now,” Duckworth said, adding: “There's a lot of problems that Donald Trump is leaving and Joe Biden’s going to have to clean up, and he’ll pick the right person to help him to do that.”

Biden previously revealed during a primary debate in March that he would select a female running mate, and nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality have heightened pressure on his campaign to pick a woman of color for the position.

Duckworth, a Thai American woman and an Iraq War combat veteran who had both of her legs amputated after her helicopter was hit with a grenade in 2004, has seen her veepstakes stock rise in recent weeks, and has reportedly been asked to submit documents to the Biden campaign for vetting.

Other women speculated to be among the campaign’s top candidates for the vice presidential slot include California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former White House national security adviser Susan Rice, Florida Rep. Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and a handful of others.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former Democratic primary rival of Biden’s who was perceived to be in contention, withdrew her name from consideration last month, asserting that the campaign should select a woman of color.

Biden said last week he will make his final decision in “early August” ahead of the Democratic National Convention, which is set to take place in Milwaukee from Aug. 17-20.

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