*Leaked audio from a recent zoom call reveals Joe Biden could be headed for a lame-duck presidency from day one, at least when it comes to the Black agenda.
The call between Biden and a handful of political leaders revealed how Biden really feels about Black people who say they are disappointed so far with his presidential plans. He might as well have told them ‘Miss me with that bullsh*t!’ Here’s some of what Biden said during the recorded portion of the call.
(timecode 2:43) “Let’s get something straight, you shouldn’t be disappointed. What I’ve done so far is more than what anybody else has done so far, okay, number one. Number 2: I mean what I say when I say it!”
The zoom call was a candid conversation between a handful of Black civic and political leaders and the president-elect. Nobody was supposed to record the call. Obviously, someone did. Listen to it here.
Participants on the call included NAACP President Derrick Johnson; Vanita Gupta, former ACLU attorney; Rev. Al Sharpton; Melanie Campbell, head of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Sherrilyn Ifill, director-council of the NAACP Legal Defense fund and soon-to-be-former congressman Cedric Richmond, who Biden has appointed as his White House assistant.
Biden agreed to meet with the group only after some of them went public saying his team had not responded to requests for a meeting more than a month after the election. And this is how he approached their concerns!
(timecode 1:59) “I’m the first person, Black or White, who called attention to the fact that… the rate of people who are African-Americans who are dying was three times that of White people….I have more of a record of getting things done in the U.S. Congress than anybody you know.”
Biden seems to believe he is the best hope for Black America, so there’s no need to look for anyone better. His tone reminded me of an annoyed patriarch agitated by his children whom he promised a reward and now they’re asking him to make good on that promise.
Among the subjects discussed were criminal justice reform, political appointments and executive power. Participants on the call lobbied Biden to use his influence and ability to reach across party lines to get bi-partisan support for a proposed George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, which would include some version of police reform. If the bill can’t get passed in Congress, they urged Biden to use presidential executive power to – at the very least – impose the creation of a national registry on police misconduct and unjustified use of deadly force that could allow citizens to easily research misconduct complaints against officers.
Floyd’s modern-day lynching was captured on videotape last May. The cops who killed him are scheduled to go on trial for his murder in Spring 2021.
Instead of assuring those on the video call of what he could do as president, Biden backpedaled.
(timecode 12:56) “I also don’t think we should get too far ahead of ourselves on dealing with police reform, because they’ve already labeled us as being ‘defund the police.’ Anything we put forward in terms of the organizational structure to change policing, which I promise you will occur…
“Just think to yourselves and give me advice on whether we should do that before January 5” (the date of the Georgia runoff elections for the U.S. Senate), “because that’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country saying that we’re talking about de-funding the police. We’re not. We’re talking about holding them accountable.”
On a scale of one to ten, Biden’s sense of urgency is a five at best. And that’s not good enough! When some Black people talk about de-funding their local police departments they mean just that. Others, like myself, want cops only to be hired in or re-assigned to the communities where they live. An officer is less likely to bully, lie on or kill people they know.
When Johnson spoke up about the importance of appointing more Black people to leadership roles in his administration Biden said he had other obligations to consider.
(timecode 2:24) “By 2040 this country is going to be minority white European…And you guys are going to have to start working more with Hispanics who make up a larger portion of the population than y’all do.”
If anyone wonders why some Latinos consider themselves superior to the African Diaspora, not endangered by White power structures and even voted for Trump – who clearly villainizes their existence – it could be because White people have tried to build allies with this fastest-growing American majority while strategically pitting Hispanics and Blacks against each other.
Still, Biden was full of promises to study what most people already know: legalized genocide of Black people is a real thing.
(timecode 13:44) “I guarantee you there will be a full-blown commission. I guarantee you. It’s a major, major, major element..”
Biden’s assurance that he will get around to creating that commission at some point reminds me of a married man who keeps negotiating for more time when his side piece keeps pressing him to get divorced. Four years later she realizes she still is the coleslaw. The fact is Biden and most White people couldn’t care less about legalized genocide of Black people at the hands of White cops, because they’re focused more on prolonging their own rule. Clearly president-elect Biden, has different priorities than candidate Biden when it comes to standing up for the Black people who stood up for him and saved his election.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries.