comScore Symone Sanders Defends Biden on Hyde Amendment

MSNBC Host Clashes With Biden Advisor Symone Sanders on Hyde: Did He ‘Not Understand’ for 40 Years?

MSNBC’s Chris Jansing pressed Biden campaign senior advisor Symone Sanders this afternoon over the former veep changing his position on the Hyde amendment.

Biden came under serious criticism from pro-abortion groups and fellow 2020 candidates for his opposition to the amendment that prohibits federal funding from going to abortion services.

The Atlantic reported this morning that Biden’s reversal was the result of a number of factors, including Symone Sanders confronting Biden and telling him “that he was missing how his position disproportionately affected poor women and women of color without easy access to abortion.”

On MSNBC this afternoon, Jansing asked Sanders if Biden “caved to pressure.”

Sanders said, “I think what you heard from the vice president last night was, one, the truth, but two, a forceful defense of Roe.”

She argued that Biden was standing up for abortion rights in the face of Republican legislatures across the country.

“That’s not the question,” Jansing said. “The question was not about Roe v. Wade, where his position is clear and consistent with the rest of the Democratic candidates. It’s about the Hyde Amendment.”

After Jansing said it’s a reversal, Sanders jumped in and said, “Can I be frank, Chris? Let me be frank… Folks keep calling this a reversal from the vice president. I want to be really clear. I was with him all day yesterday. How he arrived at his position on the Hyde Amendment is not a reversal. This was a thoughtful conversation about access and about health care.”

At one point Jansing said, “The facts behind this position that he held for 40 years — the facts behind that have not changed. We just heard what he said about wanting to preserve access for all. Is your position then that somebody with his experience, his years in the Senate, his years as vice president did not understand for those 40 years that the Hyde Amendment disproportionally affected poor women and women of color?”

“Chris, that’s absolutely not my position,” Sanders responded, before saying the campaign’s initial response on his opposition to the Hyde amendment was in response to a press inquiry. “We’re not going to preview our campaign strategy and not allow the press the dictate our policy roll out.”

After Sanders knocked the press coverage again, Jansing said, “I’m not sure how him answering a question saying he continued to support the Hyde Amendment and less than two days later coming out and saying something different is… the press dictating his policy rollout.”

You can watch above, via MSNBC.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac