Trump lags Bi­den on peo­ple of color in top campaign ranks

Enterprise-Record (Chico) - - OBITUARIES - By Dar­lene Su­perville

WASH­ING­TON » Amid a sum­mer of racial un­rest and calls for more di­ver­sity in lead­er­ship, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lags Demo­cratic ri­val Joe Bi­den in the per­cent­age of peo­ple of color on their campaign staffs, ac­cord­ing to data the cam­paigns pro­vided to The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Twenty-five per­cent of the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent’s se­nior staff are non­white, com­pared to 36% of Bi­den’s se­nior staff. Bi­den’s over­all campaign team is 35% non­white; Trump’s campaign did not pro­vide a com­pa­ra­ble num­ber.

And nei­ther campaign pro­vided racial break­downs for their non­white staff, nor the to­tal num­ber of staffers who are on their pay­rolls, in­clud­ing se­nior staff.

Ad­vo­cates for mi­nor­ity groups say staff di­ver­sity is nec­es­sary to en­sure political can­di­dates hear a full range of voices and view­points to help them un­der­stand the con­cerns of var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties and in­ter­est groups — es­pe­cially at a time when racial in­jus­tice is front and cen­ter in the na­tional con­ver­sa­tion. And while Bi­den has an edge on Trump, there is plenty more to be done in pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns over­all.

Jen­nifer Law­less, com­mon­wealth pro­fes­sor of pol­i­tics at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia, said “there are still a lot of mile­stones that haven’t been hit” by political cam­paigns, such as a Black man or wo­man di­rect­ing — and win­ning — a pres­i­den­tial campaign. And she said hav­ing di­verse staff at lower lev­els in cam­paigns can help in­crease the pool of fu­ture man­agers, fi­nance chairs and oth­ers.

“It’s all part of the pipe­line,” Law­less said.

Trump’s campaign makeup got a dou­ble-take in June when Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence tweeted — and later deleted — a photo from his visit to campaign head­quar­ters. The photo at first drew at­ten­tion for the lack of so­cial dis­tanc­ing and use of face masks among the staff. But it also was no­table for the sea of mostly white faces.

Eric Ro­driguez, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of pol­icy and ad­vo­cacy at UnidosUS, said the Bi­den team had more Lati­nos in se­nior po­si­tions than Trump.

“You need peo­ple from those com­mu­ni­ties to be able to make those con­nec­tions,” said Ro­driguez, whose or­ga­ni­za­tion used to be called the Na­tional Coun­cil of La Raza.

The ri­val cam­paigns fared bet­ter — and are about even —- on em­ploy­ing women, with fe­males fill­ing more than half of all jobs over­all, and more than half of all se­nior po­si­tions.

The pres­i­dent’s daugh­ter-in-law, Lara Trump, who is white, for­mer White House aide Mercedes Sch­lapp, who is Cuban Amer­i­can, and Ka­t­rina Pier­son, who is Black and worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, are among the high­est-pro­file se­nior fe­male staffers work­ing to help re­elect him.

Oth­ers in­clude for­mer Fox News host Kim­berly Guil­foyle, now a top campaign fundraiser and the girl­friend of Trump’s son, Don­ald Trump Jr., and Han­nah Castillo, the campaign’s coali­tions di­rec­tor. Guil­foyle’s late mother was from Puerto Rico. Castillo is Mex­i­can Amer­i­can.

Bi­den se­nior ad­viser Sy­mone San­ders, who is Black, is the campaign’s high­est-rank­ing per­son of color and, at 30, is the youngest mem­ber of his in­ner cir­cle. The can­di­date also re­cently brought on sev­eral African Amer­i­cans who worked for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, in­clud­ing Karine Jean-Pierre, for­merly an NBC News and MSNBC political an­a­lyst.

Ja­mal Brown, a spokesper­son for Bi­den, said the for­mer vice pres­i­dent’s campaign re­flects the “di­ver­sity, breadth and prom­ise of Amer­ica.”

“He be­lieves our democ­racy is strong­est when peo­ple see them­selves re­flected in their govern­ment,” added Brown, who is Black.

The killing in May of Ge­orge Floyd, who was Black, by a white Min­neapo­lis po­lice of­fi­cer sparked na­tion­wide protests against racial in­jus­tice and calls for greater mi­nor­ity rep­re­sen­ta­tion across the board in so­ci­ety that brought fresh scru­tiny to the pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns.


On June 20, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a campaign rally at the BOK Cen­ter in Tulsa, Okla.

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