The ongoing riots in Minnesota hurt Senator Amy Klobuchar’s prospects for Democratic nomination as vice president, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) said on Friday.
Klobuchar declined to bring charges against multiple Minneapolis police officers involved in shootings over the course of her seven-year tenure as attorney for Hennepin County. Minneapolis has seen four days of riots after resident George Floyd, an African-American man, died following his arrest at the hands of white officers.
“We are all victims sometimes of timing….This is very tough timing for Amy Klobuchar, who I respect so much,” Clyburn told reporters. When asked directly if Klobuchar’s chances at the nomination were diminished, Clyburn said, “that is the implication, yes,” although he added that Klobuchar “absolutely is qualified” to be vice president.
Clyburn is the highest-ranking African American member of Congress, and was instrumental in Biden’s victory over Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in the Democratic primaries. Following Clyburn’s endorsement of Biden, the former vice president received overwhelming support from African American primary voters.
Biden on Friday denied that his campaign’s vice presidential nomination process was affected by the Minnesota riots.
“What we are talking about today has nothing to do with my running for president or who I pick as a vice president,” Biden told MSNBC. “It has to do with an injustice that we all saw take place.”
Klobuchar has expressed regret for not prosecuting police officers accused of offenses, instead opting to send the cases to grand juries.
“I think that was wrong now,” Klobuchar said in a Friday interview on MSNBC. “I think it would have been much better if I took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself.”