Democratic officials made a mistake by picking a 72-year-old ex-governor from a state that voted for President Trump to deliver the party’s response to Trumps congressional speech, a prominent House Democrat said Wednesday.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who has represented Missouri in Congress since 2005 and previously chaired the Congressional Black Caucus, told MSNBC a day after Trumps Tuesday night speech that Democrats picked the wrong man in ex-Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to represent their party.
I dont mind saying when we make mistakes. And that was a mistake, Cleaver said.
Beshear delivered a widely mocked speech during which he accidentally claimed to be a Republican at one cringe-inducing point. The response also featured a peculiar backdrop of people sitting behind him, near motionless, in a dimly lit diner.
Asked what Democrats were thinking when they selected Beshear, Cleaver was blunt: The problem is, youre asking about thinking, and that didnt happen.
So-called responses to major presidential addresses are typically a difficult assignment, producing panned remarks from Sen. Marco Rubio, ex-Rep. Michele Bachman and former Gov. Bobby Jindal among others during the years President Barack Obama was in office.
Cleaver cited younger, more diverse candidates, such as current CBC chair and Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond or ex-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, as perhaps better positioned to captivate a television audience following a stinging November presidential loss.
We think were going to have a problem if we dont start presenting an image of the millennials and that theres a youth movement in the Democratic Party, Cleaver said.
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