As the Senate deliberates in Washington D.C. about Trump’s future in the White House, presidential candidates like former vice president Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana’s mayor Pete Buttigieg are taking full advantage of their opponents’ absence on the campaign trail.
But it seems one is willing to go a little too far to make sure they get the votes they need. Or at least that is what an article written last week by The Nation suggests. Text messages leaked to the news outlet show that Biden’s campaign is willing to put its staffers at risk and even in harm’s way to get the job done.
It seems that in their haste to get all the votes possible, campaign leaders have put a halt to the winter weather protocol that tells its volunteers and employees not to travel in harsh or adverse road conditions. Now, however, these underpaid and under-appreciated people are being sent out in the middle of winter snowstorms to make sure polls and other campaign events are fully staffed and operational.
Kay Glad, Biden’s regional organizing director, wrote in a mass text to her staffers on December 30, while the state of Iowa was blanketed in snow and ice, “Hey guys, the all-weather policy is dissolved throughout the entire state because we have five weeks left until the election.”
And she added, “If it feels like unsafe driving conditions, then talk to me separately but quite frankly I don’t want to hear any complaints because you know how important this is and how much time we have left.”
She sent out another text later, saying, “By showing an ability to be adaptable, flexible, and willing to do what you’ve been hired to do, then that is the most basic threshold of demonstrating your ability of leading others. Every single day is an audition for post-Iowa.”
Might I just say: Biden sure has chosen such thoughtful and caring people to lead his campaign. Not.
I mean, what kind of person says, ‘If you feel unsafe, I don’t want to hear about. Just do your job.’
These text messages were leaked by a staffer who said that between December 25 and January 1, at least five of those on Biden’s staff had been in weather-related car accidents. And a campaign worker for Senator Elizabeth Warren had even died in a car accident in Iowa while working on the campaign.
So to say that these people have a fear of their literal lives is entirely understandable. But Glad says, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Biden of all people should know the dangers of driving in inclement weather around an election. After all, it was during his first election to the Senate in 1972 that his wife and daughter were killed in a snowy car accident. He sure has made it a point to mention as much time and again during all of his campaigns since, for one reason or another, even if just to wrongly accuse the driver of the oncoming truck of drunk driving.
Naturally, Biden’s current campaign has been quick to issue several statements about the leaked text messages, painting it as an act of carelessness made by one slightly sour Iowa director.
“Responding to a request for comment, a Biden campaign official confirmed that Glad had suspended the weather policy, but said she had acted unilaterally and was subsequently reprimanded and her team was given proper guidance,” according to The Nation.
Julie Kriger, Biden’s Iowa communications director to the outlet, “Our campaign’s most important asset is the staff working tirelessly around the country to help Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump and restore the soul of our nation. That’s why we always prioritize their safety and well-being and have put in place policies both in Iowa and nationally to endorse that they remain safe in hazardous weather conditions.”
And of course, other presidential candidates, such as Senator Amy Klobuchar, have now issued similar statements, letting the nation know that they put their employees before votes.
It’s doubtful that sending staffers out to brave the elements would have done much to help boost Biden’s rather low poll numbers in the state. But the knowledge that people were forced to do so to keep their jobs is undoubtedly likely to lower them. As it stands now, Biden is already in very distant third place behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.