Democrat presidential candidate Deval Patrick slammed the lack of diversity among the 2020 Democratic field ahead of Tuesday night’s party debate.
“Tonight, six candidates will take the debate stage, all remarkable public servants,” the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement early Tuesday. “Yet tonight, America will not see herself in full.”
Patrick, who made a late entrance to the race and has not yet taken the debate stage, said “three of the four candidates who have most recently left the race have been candidates of color.”
Since December’s Democrat debate in Los Angeles, California, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) have all suspended their campaigns.
Patrick also criticized the Democratic National Committee (DNC) leadership, saying debate qualifications do not accurately represent the “breadth and depth” of the Democratic field to voters.
DNC Chairman Tom Perez responded to Patrick’s statement by saying the requirements were fair and “inclusive.”
“We made the rules, they were very transparent, they’re very inclusive, and we can’t change the rules midstream because there’s a candidate that I wish were on but didn’t make the debate stage,” Perez said on CNN’s New Day.
"We made the rules, they were very transparent, they're very inclusive, and we can't change the rules midstream because there's a candidate that I wish were on but didn't make the debate stage," says DNC Chairman @TomPerez about tonight's all-white debate stage in Iowa. pic.twitter.com/UNzsf9iTtP
— New Day (@NewDay) January 14, 2020
Patrick is not the first Democrat to open up about the lack of diversity among the field.
Booker complained in a recent interview about the lack of diversity not only among the current slate of Democrats running for president but among Senate staffers.