Black Democratic lawmakers embrace Biden during call, giving boost to his campaign

July 9, 2024
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President Biden, in a race to save his reelection campaign, received a welcome boost from members of the Congressional Black Caucus Monday night when he joined a call with CBC call to talk about the election.

“We appreciate him reaching out and having this conversation continuing to engage with members,” Congressional Black Caucus Chair Steven Horsford said. “We recognize — I do — that he is the presumptive nominee, and we have a lot of work to do defeat Donald Trump.” 

One caucus member described it as a “great” call and said Mr. Biden was “clear, coherent, concise, committed.”

“He found a great deal of support within the zoom meeting,” said the lawmaker, who dismissed talk of removing the president from the ticket as “ridiculous.”

“We’re with him,” the lawmaker said. “I’m with him.”

According to the Biden campaign, the president thanked those who were on the call, spoke about the stakes of the election and role the Congressional Black Caucus will have in his campaign. About 40 members of the caucus were on the call, but House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries was not among them.

The second vice chair of the CBC, Rep. Troy Carter of Louisiana, told CBS News, “It was refreshing and energizing to hear the president say in his own words that he’s in, and he’s in to win to make sure that we leave no stone unturned.”

“He was energized. He was clear. He was thorough,” Carter said.

He also said that Mr. Biden was “committed to engaging the CBC to have significant input and role in making sure that we are getting the message out — not only telling it — but listening to people in the communities.” 

Mr. Biden, who has been fighting to win back the confidence of many Democrats after a dismal debate performance just a week and a half ago, discussed the debate. Carter recounted, “He didn’t try to skirt it. He didn’t try to dance around it. He owned it … and said, ‘Listen, quite frankly, it was a godawful debate. I get it. And you will see, continue to see the Joe Biden that has steered this country in the right direction and will continue to do so in the next term.'”

The president took questions from CBC members, and Carter said that most of the questions were centered around the need for regular discussions and messaging coordination.

“The president said emphatically, ‘I need you. I want you to be fully engaged,'” Carter said. “He was further emphasizing that, you know, ‘You’ve had my back and I’ve got yours.'” Mr. Biden has always credited Black lawmakers, in particular, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, with reinvigorating his 2020 presidential campaign by helping deliver South Carolina during the primaries that year after a string of early losses.  

The president discussed his agenda, including the infrastructure bill and reproductive rights. And he raised the issue of Black wealth and Trump’s comment during the debate that migrants were taking “Black jobs,” according to two sources. Carter said that Mr. Biden reiterated that “all jobs are Black jobs.” 

Mr. Biden told the group, “We’re going to make sure we keep Trump from getting elected.” 

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragán and Deputy Chair Adriano Espaillat also released a statement of support for Mr. Biden Monday evening.

“The conversations I’ve had with our members have been very positive, standing with the president and recommitting ourselves to go out and engage and do more of our events we’ve been doing,” Chair Barragan told CBS News. “There’s a lot of progress we have yet to do.”

Ellis Kim contributed to this report.

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