House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), whose endorsement helped push Shontel Brown over the finish line on Tuesday in the Democratic House primary for Ohio's 15th District, said he did not plan to weigh in on the race until he was called “stupid.”
“I was going to stay right here in South Carolina minding my business until I got called stupid,” Clyburn told Axios on Wednesday.
Brown, a Cuyahoga County representative and the candidate favored by a number of centrist Democrats, beat former state Sen. Nina Turner, a staunch progressive, in Tuesday’s race, dealing a victory to the Democratic establishment and a blow to the progressive left.
Clyburn, whose coveted endorsement ahead of the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary propelled then-candidate Joe Biden to securing party's nomination in 2020, threw his support behind Brown in June.
The 81-year-old Democrat told Axios that he only decided to make an endorsement after Turner, during an economic town hall hosted by the liberal group The Young Turks, agreed with Killer Mike that Clyburn was “incredibly stupid” for supporting Biden in the primaries.
He told Axios that he thought Turner was too divisive for Congress.
Clyburn also said he was frustrated by Killer Mike and Turner claiming that the only victory Democrats have gotten from Biden is the establishment of Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
He went on to name a number of accomplishments he says he has helped deliver during the Biden administration, including tenets of the bipartisan infrastructure package and the adoption of his antipoverty formula.
“These are creations, and to say all we got out of endorsing Joe Biden was a federal holiday?” Clyburn said. “That’s the kind of BS that sent me to Cleveland.”
Brown’s primary win in Ohio is one of a number of recent elections where establishment candidates have come out on top of those favored by progressives. Progressive-favored candidates lost in the New York mayoral primary, the Virginia gubernatorial primary and a New Mexico special election.
Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats see light at end of tunnel on Biden agenda Sinema in Arizona as Democrats try to get spending-infrastructure deal LIVE COVERAGE: Biden tries to unify divided House MORE (D-N.Y.), who serves as the chairman of the House Democratic Daucus, slammed the “extreme left” after Brown’s win in Ohio, arguing that the “anti-establishment line of attack is lame.”
“The extreme left is obsessed with talking trash about mainstream Democrats on Twitter, when the majority of the electorate constitutes mainstream Democrats at the polls,” Jeffries told The New York Times on Wednesday.
“In the post-Trump era, the anti-establishment line of attack is lame — when President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE and Democratic legislators are delivering millions of good-paying jobs, the fastest-growing economy in 40 years and a massive child tax cut,” he added.