Some Democrats Are Increasingly Worried About Karen Bass Being Joe Biden's VP Pick

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Posted: Jun 27, 2020 4:35 PM
Some Democrats Are Increasingly Worried About Karen Bass Being Joe Biden's VP Pick

Source: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncell

Former Vice President Joe Biden has said he would be looking at a woman to be his running mate. In fact, it has been rumored that he would be looking at a woman of color to join his ticket. A few people to keep an eye on are Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), the failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA). Democrats, however, are worried about Bass because of her past comments praising communist leaders. 

When Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died back in 2016, Bass memorialized him.

“As Cuba begins nine days of mourning, I wish to express my condolences to the Cuban people and the family of Fidel Castro. The passing of the Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba. I hope together our two nations will continue on the new path of support and collaboration with one another and continue in the new direction of diplomacy," she said at the time, the Culver City Observer reported.

The next month she took to the House floor to commemorate Oneil Mario Cannon, one of the Community Party USA's leaders in Southern California, once he passed away.

"Mr. Speaker, I would like to honor the life and memory of my friend and mentor, Oneil Marion Cannon, who passed away on January 20, days before his 100th birthday," she said in January of 2017.

These comments are a liability for the Democratic Party, especially in Florida, where a number of Cubans have sought refuge. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, both Democrats, have been outspoken about their concern with the party's shift to being apologetic towards Cuba. It's why they took issue with Bernie Sanders praising Castro's education system.

According to Democrats in Miami, Bass' use of the term “comandante en jefe” (means commander-in-chief in Spanish) sounds like a term of endearment. 

"His followers called him comandante en jefe so they didn’t have to call him ‘G-d’ in public, and his detractors so they didn’t have to call him ‘El Diablo’ in public, too,” Democratic State Sen. Annette Taddeo told POLITICO. "As someone that was thoroughly vetted before, I can tell you that words matter, especially if you put them in writing. As a running mate, there are consequences to what you say and write, especially in Florida, where no matter what the polls say today, our state will be decided by less than one point.”

When POLITICO asked Bass' office about her comments four years ago, they stood by them, saying she has “long been an advocate for improved relations with Cuba, which is why she traveled to Cuba with Secretary Kerry in 2015 when he raised the U.S. flag over our embassy in Havana; and separately with President Obama for his historic visit in early 2016. Her condolence statement, which like President Obama's and Secretary [of State John] Kerry's statements called for relations to continue in the then-new path of support and collaboration, is consistent with her belief in the power of diplomacy to forge better relations among nations, even in the face of fundamental disagreements with their governments and leaders."

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Before responding to POLITICO, Bass' office reportedly edited her congressional website to include comments from both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. 

Florida is a state that really is a swing state and a toss-up every election. Bass could be a liability for the Biden campaign, should they choose her as a running mate. That, however, could be a benefit to the Trump campaign.