Biden adviser called progressive Democrat ‘Squad’ ‘f***ing idiots’, new book claims

Biden aide Cedric Richmond lashed out at the ‘Squad’ after a progressive climate group attacked him for accepting campaign donations from fossil fuel companies

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Monday 25 April 2022 16:26
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<p>Cedric Richmond,  senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, looks on as U.S. President Joe Biden meets with advisors, union and business leaders about infrastructure in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on July 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. </p>

Cedric Richmond, senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, looks on as U.S. President Joe Biden meets with advisors, union and business leaders about infrastructure in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on July 22, 2021 in Washington, DC.

A forthcoming book by a pair of New York Times reporters reveals how a climate group’s criticism of Cedric Richmond’s appointment as a top White House adviser so angered the ex-Louisiana congressman that he lashed out at the group’s congressional allies in extremely vulgar terms.

According toThis Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future — a copy of which was obtained by The Independent ahead of its’ 3 May release — authors Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns recount how Mr Richmond, who represented Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district from 2011 to 2021, became irate after the Sunrise Movement, a left-wing climate advocacy group, attacked Mr Biden for naming him as a senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Liason in late November 2020.

The climate activist group had publicly questioned Mr Biden’s commitment to addressing climate change because Mr Richmond, who’d been a co-chairman of the then-president-elect’s successful 2020 campaign, had accepted campaign contributions from constituents who work for oil and gas companies.

After the Sunrise Movement’s official Twitter account accused him of having “taken big money from the fossil fuel industry, cozied up [with] oil and gas, [and] stayed silent while polluters poisoned his own community,” Martin and Burns reveal Mr Richmond telephoned a “friend” to express his anger at the group of progressive, female House members known as “the Squad,” all of whom have close ties to Sunrise.

He was particularly angry at two major Sunrise allies, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

According to Martin and Burns, Mr Richmond told his “friend” the left-wing lawmakers were “f**king idiots”.

A spokesperson for Ms Tlaib told The Independent the Michigan congresswoman was “not able to respond” to a request for comment on Mr Richmond’s comments “at this time,” while a representative for Ms Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr Richmond also did not reply to a request for comment from The Independent sent before publication of this story.

But the former Louisiana congressman’s anger at the “Squad” members reflected the tension between the Democratic party’s leftmost members, most of whom had backed Vermont Senator and self-described “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic primary against Mr Biden, as he was assembling his White House staff and cabinet in the months between the 2020 election and his January 2021 inauguration.

Another longtime confidante of Mr Biden, Steve Richetti, expressed similar frustration in a comment to a Capitol Hill ally of the incoming president.

Mr Richetti and other people close to Mr Biden had looked on uneasily as progressives complained loudly about the coronavirus relief deal negotiated between a bipartisan group of legislators and the Trump administration, viewing the progressives’ gripes as a “dress rehearsal” for mounting pressure campaigns against the incoming Biden administration, which many progressives viewed as too centrist for their tastes.

“The problem with the left,” he said, “is that they don’t understand that the lost”.

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