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Joe Biden calls Maxine Waters ‘Senator, I hope’

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President Joe Biden suggested Wednesday that he’d like California Rep. Maxine Waters to be the true successor of Vice President Kamala Harris’s former Senate seat.

While signing bills during a White House event Wednesday, the president was heard on hot mic referring to Waters as “senator” as he greeted her.

“Senator, I hope,” he said as he shook the congresswoman’s hand.

As he returned to signing bills, he then whispered, “You think I’m kidding. I’m not.”

Watch:

Only one California seat is up for reelection in 2022 — the one previously held by Harris.

Immediately after Harris stepped down from her Senate seat in January, California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed then-California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the seat until it expires in 2022.

FEC records show that Padilla has already filed paperwork to run for reelection when the seat expires, meaning that to become a senator in California, Waters would have to defeat him in a Democrat primary race.

Would she stand a chance? Maybe.

When Padilla was chosen by Newsom as Harris’s replacement, a large number of black Democrat Party figures cried foul, arguing that her replacement should have been a black woman.

“We are incredibly hurt and disappointed in the governor’s decision. Through a stroke of a pen, his actions have denied a black female representation in the United States Senate,” Taisha Brown, the chair of the California Democrat Party Black Caucus, said last year, as reported by The Sacramento Bee.

“Too often, black women are overlooked, but so often, they are the backbone of the Democratic Party. We do all the sweat, equity and work for candidates, and we’re never rewarded,” she added.

“Today’s decision, unfortunately, leaves us with one less woman and now not a single Black woman in the United States Senate, chipping away at decades of progress that have been made to ensure our United States Senate looks like the America it represents,” Aimee Allison, founder of She the People, a group focused on the interests of black people, said in her own statement.

“Once Sen. Harris is sworn into her new role, the nation’s upper chamber will be without a true advocate who can uniquely speak to the needs and issues that are most important to women of color across this country. It begs the question: How long will we have to wait to increase the diversity of women of color in the Senate?” she added.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also spoke out at the time.

“The sad reality is [Harris] was the only African American woman in the Senate at this time, and when you think about the history of this country and the challenges that exist for African Americans especially … this is a real blow to the African American community, to African American women, to women in general,” she said.

“It was definitely a surprise and it’s an unfortunate situation as we are trying to move this country forward in making sure that black lives truly matter and that African Americans have a seat at the table, especially African American women. After what was done in this race on a national level, definitely is unfortunate,” Breed added.

Reps. Barbara Lee and Karen Bass, both of whom are also black, congratulated Padilla after he was picked for the position, but prior to that happening, they had urged Newsom to pick a black woman as Harris’s successor.

“There are perspectives and experiences which black women bring to our public policy, to our legislative agenda. I believe that that void that is going to be left by Kamala Harris needs to be filled, because it is a void that will be necessary to move our country forward and to solve the country’s problems,” Lee had said.

“Kamala Harris was the second African American woman (senator) in U.S. history, and certainly there is going to be a void if she is not replaced with an African American woman,” Bass had said.

Meanwhile, Higher Heights, another group dedicated to the interests of black people, also slammed the governor.

“While Padilla’s appointment is certainly an important step forward for California’s Latino community, it is a significant step back for women across the state and nation and an even further step back for black women,” the group said in a statement.

“With this appointment, Governor Newsom had the opportunity to select from a slate of extremely qualified women to fill this seat. Instead, he failed to appoint any of the qualified women candidates to the role,” it added.

The funny thing is that Waters is a black woman, meaning that, lo and behold, she’d fulfill all the prerequisites demanded by the governor’s critics. This, in turn, could give her a major edge in the race — assuming she ever decides to run.

Vivek Saxena

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