Chris Hayes Tees Up Warren to Blame 'Long Legacy' of Racism for Her Labor Problems

February 7th, 2020 7:31 AM

Conservative Twitter is hammering Elizabeth Warren for implying in an MSNBC interview on Thursday night that she blames the racism throughout American history (in part) for minority staffers quitting her campaign in Nevada. MSNBC host Chris Hayes set up the issue in the gentlest, most helpful way possible (well, the most helpful besides burying the story). When she uncorked her blame-history spin, Hayes just moved on to asking about Michael Bloomberg.

CHRIS HAYES: There's a story in Politico that I saw you responded to, and I just want get your response to it here on air, about six women of color that quit your Nevada campaign, with complaints of a toxic work environment, and tokenism, one of them went on the record. I saw you responded to that and apologized. What do you want to say in response to learning about that? 

ELIZABETH WARREN: You know, I believe these women without any equivocation and apologize personally that they had a bad experience on the campaign. I really work hard to try to build a campaign and a work environment where it’s diverse and open and everyone is welcome and celebrated and gets to bring their whole self to work every day,

But I’m also very aware that racism and oppression in this country have left a long legacy. And it creates the kind of toxicity where people, power structures, people take advantage of other people. It’s something for which we have to be constantly vigilant, and constantly determined to do better. 

So she said "I'm taking responsibility for this," and yet she's suggesting that somehow, when minorities feel slighted in her office, it's impersonal "power structures" that are to blame. It felt like Warren wanted Hayes to help her get quickly past this P.R. bump in the road.

One field organizer told Politico's Alex Thompson “I felt like a problem — like I was there to literally bring color into the space but not the knowledge and voice that comes with it...We all were routinely silenced and not given a meaningful chance on the campaign. Complaints, comments, advice, and grievances were met with an earnest shake of the head and progressive buzzwords but not much else.”

Politico also touted how Democrats are diversifying their campaign staffs. "For generations, campaigns have been dominated by white men, especially at the top. But this year’s Democratic field has seen record diversity among campaign managers, including Warren’s Roger Lau, who is the first Asian-American campaign manager for a major presidential candidate."