In her very first segment as a primetime host on MSNBC, Joy Reid welcomed former Vice President Joe Biden for a largely conflict-free interview that touched on everything from President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic—“He’s surrendered,” Biden declared—to his own complicated history on criminal justice reform.
For her final question, Reid brought up an issue that she has been pressing on her weekend show, AM Joy, for several weeks.
“Most African-Americans that I’ve talked to on a daily basis are very concerned that Black women in particular have been the heartbeat of the Democratic Party for a long time, really shored you up in places like South Carolina,” Reid said. “Are you committed to naming a Black woman as your vice presidential running mate?”
“I am not committed to naming any but the people I’ve named, and among them are four Black women,” Biden responded, seeming to inadvertently make some news. “So that decision is under way now.”
More than four Black women have been floated as possible running mates for the candidate, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Rep. Val Demmings (D-FL), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Biden originally committed to naming a female running mate at his final Democratic debate against Bernie Sanders in March.
“And by the way, Black women have supported me my entire career,” Biden added, starting to sound a bit defensive. “You all act like all of a sudden there was an epiphany in South Carolina.”
“So they are the ones, as the old saying goes, that brought me to the dance,” he said. “I have been loyal and they have been loyal to me, and so it is important that my administration, I promise you, will look like America, from vice president to Supreme Court to Cabinet positions to every major position in the White House. It’s going to look like America. It’s critically important that be the case. I can guarantee you that.”
Biden also confirmed that his team has gone through the initial vetting process for four candidates so far and will narrow the list down once that process is complete. “By the way, we were thinking of you for vice president and then you took this job,” he joked to Reid at the end of the interview. “So, you know, what can we do?”