Laurence Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School, on Tuesday apologized after dismissing the idea of former Vice President Joe Biden picking a black running mate as “cosmetics,” and pushing for him to choose the white Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., instead.
Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard and a former colleague of Warren’s, was one of roughly 100 progressive public figures to sign a letter pushing Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, to select Warren as his running mate. The former vice president already vowed to pick a woman to run with him, but recent protests over racial injustice has caused a push for Biden to select a black woman to be his vice president.
The professor told The Washington Post that if Biden does not choose a black woman as his running mate, there will be “symbolic ways in which some people would be disappointed,” but added, “I think African Americans above all would be the first to say they are more interested in results than cosmetics.”
Tribe’s comment quickly came under criticism, with a former staffer for Pete Buttigieg, Rodericka Applewhaite, tweeting that the professor “has no business speaking for black people,” and describing his dismissive remark as racist.
He later tweeted that he “didn’t mean to express any doubt at all that several women of color currently on what’s said to be the Biden short list would be excellent choices as well.”
Tribe also said, “I’ve never doubted that racial identity is a significant variable in American governance. It should count heavily in favor of previously excluded groups as part of a person’s full record of background, skills, and values. I’m FOR Warren, not ANTI-excellent others.”
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