Cynthia Nixon may have quickly called out former Vice President Joe Biden for calling current Vice President Mike Pence a “decent guy” on Thursday, causing Biden to walk back his comments, but she isn’t done just yet.
The actress-turned-activist published an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday breaking down why it’s dangerous for Biden to normalize Pence as a “decent guy.”
“The fact that Pence does vile, hateful things while well-coiffed and calm doesn’t make him decent; it makes him insidious and dangerous,” Nixon wrote.
She added: “Respecting each other’s rights and humanity is what makes us civilized — not keeping a civil tone while doing the opposite.”
Nixon also criticized Biden for cozying up with Republicans during this political climate.
“When you’re fighting for the rights of marginalized communities who are under attack, it’s okay to stop being polite,” she said. “This is not a time for hollow civility”
Nixon said she admired Biden “personally and politically,” singling out his work on the Violence Against Women Act. But she accused him of putting “politeness over policy” by complimenting Pence.
“In effect, he is saying that Pence’s record doesn’t matter,” Nixon wrote. “So let’s talk about that record.”
The progressive Democrat pointed to Pence’s history of pushing policies that hurt the LGBTQ community. She also highlighted the ways Pence has promoted discrimination against LGBTQ.
Pence faced scrutiny as governor of Indiana when he signed a “religious freedom” law in 2015 that gave businesses the right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community by refusing them services. Nixon also noted that Pence had suggested he supported conversion therapies for LGBTQ individuals on his congressional campaign website in 2000.
One of the most prominent examples of Pence’s discrimination pointed out by Nixon is his role in the Trump administration’s controversial ban on transgender individuals in the military, which was legally enforced by the Supreme Court in January.
Nixon summed up Pence’s political career: “These are not the actions of a decent man,” she wrote.
She also noted that Biden’s privilege may be blinding him to Pence’s dangerous views.
“It’s easy to say nice things about Pence when you’re not personally threatened by his agenda,” she wrote. “If Biden were being directly attacked in the same way that our community is, I think he would see Pence from a very different vantage point.”
While Biden is a prominent Democrat who openly criticizes the Trump administration, his relationship with Republicans is a pause for concern for many Democrats and progressives, especially as Biden is positioning himself for a potential 2020 presidential run.
A New York Times report recently revealed that an organization funded partly by the family of longtime Republican Rep. Fred Upton (MI) paid Biden $200,000 to speak at a right-leaning audience at Lake Michigan College three weeks before last year’s midterm elections.
Biden also doesn’t shy away from publicly talking about his cozy relationships with Republicans. During the recent speech in Omaha, in which he called Pence “decent,” Biden also complimented Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a “good guy,” according to the Associated Press.
During his talk in Michigan last November, Biden called Upton was “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with,” New York Times reported.
In her op-ed, Nixon pushed back against Biden’s openness to accept Republicans:
In January, Biden said that one of the things he’s criticized for is the fact that he likes Republicans, joking, “Okay, well bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” But the problem isn’t getting along with Republicans. The problem is legitimizing an agenda of hateful discrimination. It’s about the fear that someone who would give Pence the benefit of the doubt in the name of civility might also be willing to bargain away our rights in the name of bipartisanship.
This week, Biden said he was “close” to making a decision on whether he should run in the 2020 presidential election. In an interview with the New York Times, he said he would launch a campaign in March if he decides to run.