Joe Biden touted his support of the Violence Against Women Act during his campaign for president. It is essentially the only legislation he can point to in his long 50-year political career. The irony is not lost now that Biden will likely nominate Rep. Marcia Fudge for a position in his cabinet. Fudge went to bat for a judge in her home state of Ohio after he beat his wife so severely that she required reconstructive surgery.
In 2018, Rep. Marcia Fudge tried to launch a challenge against Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her job. She failed and ended up endorsing Pelosi for another term as Speaker. Fudge at first cried racism but then an inconvenient truth came to the forefront. In 2015 Fudge wrote a letter of support for Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason before he was sentenced for his actions. He was accused of beating his wife so severely while he was driving that she required reconstructive surgery. He also shoved her out of the car after the beating. Mason ended up being sentenced to two years in jail but was let out after nine months. By the time Fudge ran against Pelosi in 2018, Mason was again facing time in prison – this time for the murder of his wife. All of this came out during the Speaker’s race.
In the letter Fudge wrote on behalf of Mason, she claimed he was just a “good man who made a very bad mistake.” She said she had been assured by Mason that “something like this will never happen again.” He did, though, and ended up murdering his wife in front of the couple’s young children. Fudge was sticking up for this abuser/murderer in 2015 because he was a longtime public official in Ohio. He was an Ohio state senator from January 2007 to September 2008, a state representative, where he served as a ranking minority member of the House Criminal Justice Committee for five years, and an assistant county prosecutor for three years in the 1990s. Marcia Fudge is a politician from Ohio who decided to put her loyalty for a fellow politician over the life of a woman. Mason also served as an aide to U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who died in office and Fudge holds that seat now.
On August 20, 2019, he pleaded guilty to killing his wife and on September 12th, he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years.
Fast forward to 2020 and Joe Biden is choosing his cabinet. Rep. Jim Clyburn is putting a lot of pressure on Biden to nominate Fudge for Secretary of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture is too white and focused on the Midwest, you see. Biden owes Clyburn, big time, for securing his win in the South Carolina primary, a win he desperately needed to stay in the race. Clyburn is calling in the debt by pushing for black nominees to fill Biden’s cabinet and other top positions in the Harris/Biden administration. Instead of Agriculture, it looks as though Fudge will be put up for HUD secretary.
Surely someone must have questioned Clyburn on his insistence that Fudge advance in her political career and be a part of Biden’s cabinet. Why would Joe Biden, the politician who likes to call himself a defender of women, elevate Fudge to such a position when she clearly puts political loyalty over human decency. Is it because she is a black woman and identity politics is the only thing that matters in the upcoming presidential term of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris? It sure looks like the color of her skin trumps her ability to make good decisions.
Civil rights leaders from the NAACP and the National Urban League met with Biden Tuesday. They are holding him accountable for his promise to create the most diverse cabinet ever.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus have been in touch with Mr. Biden’s transition team to encourage him to increase diversity at the highest levels of the government. Some of those members are now discussing tactics to elevate their preferred contenders, including possibly aligning their endorsements. They haven’t reached an agreement on their strategy, according to people familiar with the discussions, but one approach would be to choose one Black or Latino candidate to recommend for a handful of top remaining positions.
“The African-American and Latino communities rallied behind this administration and their expectations are to be included at all levels,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D, Miss.), who has spoken with the Biden transition team.
The efforts underscore the pressures Mr. Biden faces as he builds out his administration. In addition to demands that he increase the diversity across his cabinet nominees, Mr. Biden is navigating the party’s progressive base and his pledge to govern as a consensus builder. Some of the candidates being pushed by Black and Latino groups don’t have the backing of progressive groups, and vice versa.
Surely there were other black women who could have been selected instead of Marcia Fudge. Biden has hesitated to pull members from the House for his cabinet because of the slim majority Democrats now hold, thanks to the success of Republicans flipping blue seats to red seats in the November election. Fudge assured Team Biden that “I’m in a safe district. Whoever would come here [to Congress] would be part of this team as well, so that gives me some comfort.” There’s that loyalty entitlement popping up again. It’s all so cozy.
A Biden transition official said Ms. Fudge was chosen to lead HUD because of her work in Congress and in local government in Ohio as a leading voice for working families and on issues related to poverty, hunger, and homelessness.
Let’s hope Fudge’s job description doesn’t include protecting women in dire situations. She’s not so good at that.