Joe Biden’s Senior Advisor Once Said We Don’t Need White People Leading Democratic Party

Symone Sanders speaks onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on September 23, 2018 in New York City.
Noam Galai / Getty Images

One of Joe Biden’s senior advisors once said that she didn’t think white people needed to be leading the Democratic Party right now.

Symone Sanders, whom Biden announced yesterday as a member of Team Biden, formerly suggested in 2016 that diversity should be reflected in the party’s leadership, Fox News reported.

Sanders made the remarks on a CNN panel while discussing the possibility of Howard Dean becoming Democratic National Committee chairman. Sanders criticized Howard Dean for “maligning” Sen. Bernie Sanders when she made the comment, adding that the kind of behavior Dean demonstrated was “not what we need,” referring to the Democratic Party.

“In my opinion, we don’t need white people leading the Democratic Party right now. The Democratic party is diverse, and it should be reflected as so in leadership and throughout the staff, at the highest levels. From the vice chairs to the secretaries all the way down to the people working in the offices at the DNC.”

ABC News reported that Biden adding Sanders to his campaign provides a “younger diverse voice” to his circle of top advisers, “which has been dominated by older white men.” The news agency also noted that the hire suggests Biden is looking for ways to appeal to new voters.

Former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile said the hire was “one of the best moves” Biden could make, noting that Sanders helped her bridge the gap with millennials after the 2016 primaries.

“She understands how to build a coalition, and that women of color are the backbone of the Democratic Party,” she said.

Sanders shared her support for Biden on Twitter.

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Sanders was reportedly recruited by several of the Democrats looking to run in 2020, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris. Sen. Bernie Sanders reportedly did not ask her to return to his campaign.

Symone Sanders, who served as press secretary to Bernie Sanders in his 2016 presidential campaign, also came under fire for making a donation to Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg before signing on to Biden’s team. The Hill reported that she donated to his campaign in March.

She defended the move on Twitter, claiming that she also donated to the campaigns of former Obama Administration Housing Chief Julian Castro and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand because she believed at the time that “they all should have their shot on the debate stage.”

Sanders did not immediately address the comments she made on the CNN panel.