Administration

White House defends primary plan after Shaheen declines to attend congressional ball

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
Greg Nash
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addresses reporters during the daily briefing at the White House on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.

The White House on Monday defended President Biden’s push to elevate South Carolina in the early primary calendar after New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) said she will skip the White House congressional ball.

The president and first lady Jill Biden will host the congressional ball on Monday evening. Both Shaheen and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) confirmed to The Hill Monday that they will skip the event to protest the primary plan.

The plan would have New Hampshire and Nevada share the same day for voters to head to the primary polls, following South Carolina, which has caused a fight between Democrats.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to Shaheen skipping the ball by arguing Biden is making good on his commitment to promote diversity.

“To him, respecting our diversity as a nation and breaking down barriers for our people is a fundamental principal,” she said.

She added that Biden is “making sure we see the diversity within his administration that is represented, clearly, across the country and he wants to honor those values.”

Iowa and New Hampshire have voted first and second in presidential primaries for decades, and they both have largely white populations. Biden last week wrote in a letter to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that the party needed to give diverse voters a louder and earlier voice.

The DNC has yet to formally adopt the new schedule, but is expected to decide in 2023 at a larger meeting.

Tags Biden Jill Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Maggie Hassan
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