Biden HUD secretary frontrunner praised top communist as her 'mentor'

November 13, 2020 

A potential contender on a shortlist to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development in President-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration could face opposition during the Senate confirmation process over her past praise for a Communist Party member.

In 2017, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., eulogized Oneil Marion Cannon, a top member of the Communist Party USA for decades, calling him a "friend and mentor."

"As part of the [Independent Progressive Party], he used economic power to force employers to hire Black and Mexican American workers, using the slogan 'don't bank or buy where you can't work,'" Bass said in her remarks. "He worked for decades to elect representatives of color to office, including Tom Bradley, Ed Roybal, and even campaigning at age 90 for Barack Obama."

KAREN BASS TRIES TO CLARIFY PAST REMARKS

The speech came under scrutiny over the summer after Bass -- the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus -- emerged as a possible running mate on Biden's ticket before he eventually picked Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

She denies being a communist.

In a statement to Politico in August, a spokesperson for Bass said her relationship with Cannon was similar to her relationship with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

"Karen Bass has always been a Democrat and only a Democrat. The congresswoman is friends with Kevin McCarthy and is not a Republican. She knew Oneil Cannon but never shared the political ideology he may have had at one time in his life," Zach Seidl, Bass' spokesman, said in a statement.

Messages to representatives on Biden's transition team and Bass' office were not returned.

In an August interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace, Bass walked back praise of deceased Cuban leader Fidel Castro. She faced questions over visits to the communist island in the 1970s and her remarks after Castro's 2016 death in which she said: "the passing of the Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba."

Bass traveled to Cuba in 1973 with an organization called the Venceremos Brigade, a joint venture between the Castro regime and left-wing U.S. groups that organized trips for Americans to the country.

She told Wallace her views on Cuba developed over time and that she understood Castro's government "was a brutal regime."

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

"I absolutely would have not put that statement out," she said. "After talking to my colleagues who represent the state of Florida [and] raised those concerns with me... lesson learned, would not do that again.

Bass is one of several contenders being considered to serve in Biden's cabinet. Others reportedly being considered to run HUD include Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Maurice Jones, a former HUD deputy secretary under former President Barack Obama.

Latest News

November 25, 2020
Cuomo stands up for President Trump on media bias

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended President Trump this week as the three-term Democratic governor indicated the media did not treat the president with the respect that the office commands. Cuomo said during an interview with WAMC radio Monday that the press has taken on a "nastier tone," which he has noticed at his press […]

Read More
November 25, 2020
Pompeo fires back at 'dead wrong' Mattis criticism of 'America First' foreign policy

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' criticism of the Trump administration's "America First" foreign policy approach as "dead wrong" on Tuesday. "I have a lot of respect for Jim, but he's just dead wrong on that," Pompeo told "Special Report" host Bret Baier. "'America First' has been at its heart, […]

Read More
November 25, 2020
John James concedes in Michigan Senate race, congratulates Sen. Gary Peters on reelection

Republican upstart John James conceded on Tuesday evening and congratulated Democrat Gary Peters for winning his second term as Michigan's junior senator. "Today I believe it is the right thing to do to congratulate Sen. Peters," James, a military veteran, said in a video posted on Twitter. "Senator, you may not remember this, but you […]

Read More
November 25, 2020
Biden says Trump administration outreach on transition has been 'sincere'

President-elect Joe Biden said outreach from the Trump administration has been "sincere," since the General Services Administration ascertained his win on Monday. GSA Chief Emily Murphy gave the OK for Biden's team to access transition resources Monday, allowing the formal transition of power to begin, ending a stand-off in which the Biden team accused the […]

Read More
November 25, 2020
Zoo of former 'Tiger King' Joe Exotic vandalized with graffiti, rotting meat

Carole Baskin has some cleaning up to do. The zoo formerly owned by Tiger King star Joe Exotic -- and now controlled by his nemesis Carole Baskin -- was vandalized with graffiti and trashed with rotting meat and garbage, according to a report. Baskin is accusing Exotic's business partner, Jeff Lowe, for the damage. Lowe […]

Read More
November 25, 2020
Christine Quinn preparing another run for NYC mayor

Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is preparing another run to become mayor of New York City, sources said Tuesday. "Chris has talked to people about running for mayor. She's talked to me about running for mayor," said a source who is friendly with Quinn and who requested anonymity. "I think she is going to […]

Read More
crossmenuchevron-down