California AG Becerra: Criticism of Biden Latino outreach is 'hogwash'

California AG Becerra: Criticism of Biden Latino outreach is 'hogwash'
© Getty

California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump official violated ethics rules in seeking EPA job for relative, watchdog finds| Trump administration aims to buy uranium for reserve 'as soon as possible,' official says| 18 states fight conservative think tank effort to freeze fue 18 states fight conservative think tank effort to freeze fuel efficiency standards OVERNIGHT ENERGY: States, green groups sue Trump over rollback of Obama fuel efficiency regulations | Oil lobby says low prices still hurting industry | Conservative group wants Trump to go further in rolling back key environmental law MORE on Friday downplayed reports that Joe BidenJoe BidenStopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest Trump slams Biden staff for donating bail money to protesters At least 4,400 people arrested in connection with protests: report MORE's campaign is failing in its Latino outreach efforts, saying the former vice president is more committed to Hispanics than any Democratic presidential nominee in history.

Becerra was responding to a report on Politico, where several Hispanic Democratic operatives criticized the campaign's strategy to marshal the community ahead of November's election.

"It's hogwash," said Becerra, arguing that Biden's primary strategy, in which he gained the support of African American and older white voters, ultimately proved effective to beat out a large and competitive field.


"He's now our nominee. My God, he did something right," Becerra told The Hill.

"He had his eye on the prize: Get the nomination," he added. "It's a different ballgame now, it's one-on-one, it's not one-on-ten."

And Becerra also took umbrage to the notion that Biden has not demonstrated he's ready to woo Hispanic voters ahead of November.

"Name me a presidential Democratic nominee who has said more things beneficial to the Latino community than Joe Biden," said Becerra.

Becerra highlighted Biden's role in formulating Obama-era policies popular among Hispanics, like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the companion Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, as well as the former vice president's role in negotiating passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


As chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, a post he held from 2013 to 2017, Becerra said he often dealt with Biden behind closed doors during negotiations between Congress and the Obama administration.

"I'm going to go with the guy who has committed that he's going to go farther than any nominee has ever gone in the history of the country, and I'm gonna go with the guy who showed me behind closed doors who he would be for the Latino community," said Becerra.

Still, Becerra warned that both Biden and Democrats as a party will need to invest heavily in pursuing Hispanic voters to win in November.

"If Vice President Joe Biden and his campaign do not invest heavily to get out the Latino vote, to animate the Latino vote to get out, to animate regular Latino voters to get their relatives and neighbors out to vote, this will be a tough race," said Becerra.

The former congressman, who "went all over the country" delivering stump speeches in English and Spanish for the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJuan Williams: Bush could strike blow for Biden Zuckerberg expressed concern to Trump over rhetoric amid protests: Axios Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight MORE campaign in 2016, said he will do the same for Biden, "if he asks me to."

But Becerra recognized the challenges of campaigning during the coronavirus pandemic.

"For everybody it's tough to get the voters' attention, because there's not natural setting that gets the press to focus and thereby gets viewers to watch," he said.

"The vice president would be far more active announcing new proposals, addressing various constituencies — a lot easier, more publicly, more visibly," said Becerra.

Despite the difficult campaign environment, Becerra believes Biden has the inside track on President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest MORE when it comes to appealing to Hispanics.

Becerra said Trump's response to the pandemic has only hurt his case with Hispanics, citing the exclusion of DACA college students from emergency federal funding, the continued use of immigration detention and an administration proposal to slash food industry workers' minimum wage.

"I'm actually sad that we're at this point where you have as president a man who either obliviously, cavalierly, or intentionally has so marginalized communities in this country that through the insults, the backstabbing and the direct assault has made life more difficult," said Becerra.

"It's sad to say the choice is so clear between the two but we still have work to do to get out there and make sure people understand that," added Becerra.