00:16 GMT14 August 2020
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    White House hopeful Joe Biden has been evading questions over the diversity of his campaign staff since the Democratic primaries, with the issue now pushed to the forefront amid the continuing protests against racism and police brutality erupting across the country in the wake of the death of black man George Floyd in police custody.

    Amidst a heated debate on systemic racism and need for criminal justice reform sparked by the death of black man George Floyd in police custody, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has revealed that 35 percent of his campaign staff are people of colour and slightly over half are women, according to figures released on 27 June, reported The Washington Post.

    A majority of both senior staff and full-time staff are women, with 53 percent full-time staff and 58 percent of senior staff identifying as female.

    The released information did not contain the names of Biden’s staff members.

    According to the campaign, its Asian-American and Pacific Islander senior leaders, defined as including “department heads, senior advisers, deputy campaign managers, and senior consultants” include its chief financial officer, chief operating officer, national voter protection director, digital chief of staff, director of digital partnerships, and surrogates director.

    The campaign added that it was still in the “hiring process” and looks forward to adding “key leaders across the campaign”.

     Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 4, 2020.
    © REUTERS / Mike Blake
    Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 4, 2020.

    The move to release the figures came hours after Joe Biden was pressed on the issue at a virtual presidential town hall hosted by Asian Pacific Islander American Vote.

    Prodding the presidential hopeful to disclose the information regarding the diversity of his campaign staff, PBS correspondent Amna Nawaz urged Biden to comply.

    “I’ll release that staff diversity data today. When we get off this call, we’ll call you”, Biden replied, adding:

    “You know, the fact of the matter is, we have a very diverse staff. And we have a diverse staff that goes across the board and high-level and senior positions. So I will make sure we release it to you, and it does include AAPI members as well as a significant number of African-Americans, significant number of women and Latinos”.

    Biden vowed that his administration was “going to look like America”, and be a “reflection of who we are as a nation”.

    The move came after Joe Biden’s presidential campaign reportedly dodged making their internal statistics on the diversity of staff public for months.

    Previously, Biden boasted of minority representation within his campaign, saying in an NPR interview in December 2019:

    “I have the most diverse staff of anybody running. I’ve always done that”.

    Appearing at Saturday’s forum, Biden also lambasted current White House incumbent Donald Trump’s restrictive immigration policies, pledging to reverse his recent clampdown on employment-based H-1B visas.

    U.S. President Donald Trump smiles at the crowd as he arrives at the podium to speak during his first re-election campaign rally in several months in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., June 20, 2020
    © REUTERS / LEAH MILLIS
    U.S. President Donald Trump smiles at the crowd as he arrives at the podium to speak during his first re-election campaign rally in several months in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S., June 20, 2020

    President Trump on 22 June signed an order effective at least until the end of the year that blocks visas for a wide variety of jobs, including those for computer programmers and other skilled workers entering the country under the H-1B visa.

    “People on these visas built this country”, said Biden.

    In response to the move by the Biden campaign, President Donald Trump's re-election campaign also released some of its data later on Saturday, revealing that 52 percent of the campaign's full-time staff were women, while senior staff was comprised 56 percent of women and 25 percent of people of colour, according to a spokesperson cited by CNN.

    ​A spate of state polls conducted by Siena College for The New York Times has shown that ex-Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by between six and eleven points in six key states.
    In six states that constituted a third of Trump’s electoral vote total in 2016, such as Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the current incumbent now trails Joe Biden by an average of nine points.

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    George Floyd killing, George Floyd, Donald Trump, Joe Biden
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