Former Vice President Joe Biden has lost support from a major San Francisco-based donor due to his defensive comments about working with segregationist senators and his history of supporting the Hyde Amendment, CNBC reported Friday.
Tom McInerney told the news outlet he let the campaign know on June 20 that he had “pulled back my support of Biden for now,” noting that he also did not think the former vice president performed well in Thursday night’s debate.
“I would imagine I’m not alone,” McInerney told CNBC of his opinion.
The attorney and angel investor was responsible for helping the Obama campaign raise significant sums of money, and his turn from Biden could signal a big problem for the top-polling campaign.
A representative for the Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Earlier this month, Biden elicited critiques from his fellow 2020 presidential hopefuls when he fondly recalled working with segregationist senators in the 1970s.
“At least there was some civility,” Biden said at a New York City fundraising event. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”
Congressional Democrats gave mixed responses to the comments, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) coming to Biden’s defense.
“Joe Biden is authentic,” Pelosi said. “He considers certain things a resource, that he has worked across the aisle. That’s what he was saying. That’s not what this election is about.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) tore into Biden during a primary debate Thursday evening for speaking supportively of the late Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.). Eastland reportedly advocated for the genocide of black Americans.
“I do not believe you are a racist. And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground,” Harris said on the debate stage, where she was the only black candidate. “But it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”
And although Biden reversed his stance on the Hyde Amendment in early June, his critics dinged him for taking so long to do so. The amendment prohibits any federal funds from going toward abortion care, and Biden ― who has not always been a strong backer of abortion rights ― has supported it since his days serving as a senator from Delaware in the 1970s.
The former vice president insisted it was not a political calculation but a reaction to the extreme abortion laws being considered and approved by Republican state governments around the country.
Biden is slated to attend several California fundraisers beginning Friday, after raising eyebrows in the Bay Area for being the only candidate to skip the state’s Democratic convention earlier this month.