Thirty-five per cent of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign operation are people of colour and just over half are women, according to figures released Saturday under public prodding, after months in which his campaign declined to make that information public.
At least 60 per cent of the staff is white, a number in line with the percentage of the United States population identifying as such, according to 2019 data from the US Census Bureau. Five per cent of the staff opted not to specify a race.
When it comes to senior officials – which the campaign said includes non-staff “senior consultants who spend the majority of their time on the campaign” – 36 per cent are people of colour and 58 per cent are women.
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Mr Biden’s campaign provided the data hours after he was pressed on his campaign’s diversity during a virtual presidential town hall hosted by Asian Pacific Islander American Vote. The Washington Post and other news outlets had previously requested information on the campaign’s diversity, which it had refused to provide.
The numbers prompted tepid reactions from some Democrats.
“That’s not terrible,” said Aimee Allison, the founder of She the People, a group that promotes women of colour in politics. But she added that it did not fully reflect the party’s base.
“I’d love to see a staff that reflects the base,” Ms Allison said. She added that the Biden campaign will be “more successful having a set of top advisers who relate to and can connect with the very communities they are dependent on to win”.
Also on Saturday, Mr Biden said he has already prepared an immigration bill, and he reiterated his previous vow to send Congress legislation on his first day as president that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Mr Biden and his campaign have drawn criticism from some Hispanic leaders and activists about his record and level of outreach to Latino communities.
“There are things that I had promised before that I’d do on Day 1 that aren’t going to go away,” Mr Biden said at a virtual fundraiser. “We need to deal with immigration. I already have a bill written. I’m going to send to the United States Congress on Day 1 a path to citizenship for those in fact who are undocumented.”
The makeup of Mr Biden’s team has come under intensifying scrutiny as questions of race have dominated the national political conversation, with protests against racism and police violence against African Americans erupting across the country. Some supporters have indicated concerns about the diversity of his team, whose most visible leaders are white.
Mr Biden recently added more people of colour to his team, which, along with the inclusion of consultants in its newly released figures, appeared to have increased his percentage of nonwhite staff members. Consultants are not traditionally considered staff on campaigns.