Some prominent members of the LGBTQ community and their allies lit into former Vice President Joe Biden over his comments praising current Vice President Mike Pence as “a decent guy,” and much of the criticism came from people on the left, Biden’s ostensible base, according to a report in The Hill. Biden, who is expected to announce his Democratic presidential candidacy any day now, was raked over the coals by Twitter users who pointed out that Pence’s infamously anti-LGBTQ stances are not what they consider “decent.”
Cynthia Nixon, the actress best known for Sex and the City as well as her run for the governor’s office in New York, was quick to chide the former senator from Delaware. She and others reminded Biden that Pence’s positions opposing same-sex marriage, opposing a law that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace, and opposing the Obama administration’s directive allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify are perceived as attacks in the LGBTQ community, and not in any way “decent.”
“@JoeBiden you’ve just called America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader ‘a decent guy.’ Please consider how this falls on the ears of our community,” Nixon tweeted.
Biden sought to defend his comments, saying that he offered his praise of Pence in the context of Pence’s speech at the Munich Security Conference earlier this month where Pence was met by dead silence and almost zero applause from European leaders expressing their disapproval of the Trump administration.
You’re right, Cynthia. I was making a point in a foreign policy context, that under normal circumstances a Vice President wouldn’t be given a silent reaction on the world stage.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 28, 2019
But there is nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights, and that includes the Vice President.
But Biden’s postmortem clarifications, parsing the difference between Pence’s decency on foreign policy and presumed indecency on LGBTQ issues didn’t really fly with most of his critics.
Biden’s plans to announce his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic nomination is a barely-veiled open secret at this point, as his longtime advisers Steve Ricchetti and Mike Donilon have conducted a string of meetings with potential hires among D.C. political talent, seemingly in order to fill roles as campaign aides and other staff. Biden himself said that his “first hurdle” was to consult with his family to see if they’d be comfortable with the scrutiny that a grueling campaign would bring.
“There is a consensus that they want me to run,” Biden said.
However, in the context of a wide-open Democratic field tacking left, and formerly verboten topics favored by millennials like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, a $15 minimum wage, student loan debt relief, and serious banking reform on the table – not to mention the power of the LGBTQ community – it remains to be seen if the 76-year-old Biden will have the same appeal in 2019 as he did when he was first elected to Congress in 1973.