CHICAGO (AP) Amy Klobuchar says she quits running to become vice president and urges Democrat Joe Biden to choose a woman of color instead.
The white Senator from Minnesota, who had seen her prospects drop as racial tensions flooded the country, said on Thursday she called the suspected presidential candidate on Wednesday evening and made the suggestion. Biden had already committed to choosing a woman as his running mate.
“I think this is a time to put a woman of color on that card,” Klobuchar said on MSNBC. “If you want to heal this country now – my party, yes, but our country – this is definitely a hell of a way to do it.”
Biden praised Klobuchar in a tweet Thursday, citing her “perseverance and determination” and saying, “With your help, we are going to beat Donald Trump.”
Klobuchar’s chances of getting the VP nod fell after the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Klobuchar was a prosecutor in County Minneapolis years ago, and during that time more than two dozen people – mostly minorities – died in police meetings.
Floyd’s death last month sparked days of protests across the country and criticism that Klobuchar, as the county’s top prosecutor, did not charge any of the officers involved in the deaths of civilians. Agent Derek Chauvin, charged with the murder of Floyd, had been implicated in one of those instances: the 2006 fatal shooting of a man accused of stabbing people and pointing a gun at the police.
Klobuchar, 60, was among a large field of Democrats who had sought the 2020 presidential candidate, and ran like a pragmatic Midwesterner who has passed over 100 bills. She stopped and threw her support behind Biden for the crucial March 3 “Super Tuesday” games, as she struggled to gain support from black voters, who are critical to democratic victories. Her best finish in the primary was in the stunningly white New Hampshire, where she finished third.
The third-term senator had to cancel one of the last rallies of her campaign after Black Lives Matter and other activists took to the stage in Minnesota to protest her trial of a murder case when she was a prosecutor and a black teenager in prison for life. sent in.
Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, a close ally of Biden and the highest-ranking black legislator in Congress, said in the days following Floyd’s death that he believed Klobuchar became a less likely choice for vice president, though he said she “absolutely” is qualified for the job.
“This is difficult timing for her,” said Clyburn.
Even before Floyd’s death, activists urged Biden to consider a woman of color, saying it would help build a multiracial coalition behind the democratic card and motivate people – especially younger voters – who may not be impressed by the 77-year-old former vice president bid. The founder of She the People, a network of colored women, called the news that Biden had asked Klobuchar to undergo formal control “a dangerous and reckless choice.”
“Choosing Klobuchar as vice president threatens to lose the foundation that Democrats need to win, the most central women of color, and could be a fatal blow to Democrats’ chance to win the White House.” Aimee Allison said in May.
Others wanted Biden to choose a more progressive candidate, who could get support from voters who supported Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the primaries. Like Biden, Klobuchar disagreed with Sanders and Warren during the campaign on key issues such as health care, calling “Medicare for All” unfeasible and instead pushing for changes to the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats with knowledge of the trial told The Associated Press last week that Biden’s search committee had narrowed down the choices to just six serious contenders after initial interviews. Among the group that is still under discussion: Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice, who served President Barack Obama’s national security adviser. Warren is white; both Harris and Rice are black.
Biden has said he will announce his VP decision on August 1.
Associated Press writers Amy Forliti in Minneapolis, Julie Pace in Washington, Bill Barrow in Atlanta, and Ashley Thomas in Savannah, Georgia contributed to this report.
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