By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published June 07, 2019
Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders had a heated clash with MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing on Friday about the Democratic frontrunner's sudden reversal on the Hyde Amendment, declaring "we're not going to allow the press the dictate our policy rollout.”
Jansing began by asking Sanders if former Vice President Joe Biden "caved to pressure" in withdrawing his support for the Hyde Amendment, which outlaws federal funding for abortions, late Thursday after his campaign confirmed his support for the amendment on Wednesday. Sanders laughed at the question.
"I think what you heard from the vice president last night was one, the truth, but two, a forceful defense of Roe," Sanders said, "a forceful and very plain understanding and, frankly, cattle call in saying to everyone, broadcasting to everyone not just in that room but across the country, that we have to understand that one- Roe is the law of the land..."
"But that's not the question," Jansing jumped in. "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 and before this reversal..."
Sanders, a former CNN commentator, then out-shouted Jansing, rejecting the notion that it was a "reversal" by saying she was with Biden "all day yesterday" and that they had a "thoughtful conversation" about access and health care.
"We are not in the business of allowing the press to dictate our policy rollout," Sanders told Jansing. "For weeks, we have been having a thoughtful conversation within our campaign about pending health care policy, a part of that conversation, yes, has to do with the Hyde Amendment...."
Jansing grilled Sanders, telling her "the facts behind this position that [Biden] held for 40 years... have not changed."
"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 disproportionately affected poor women and women of color?" Jansing asked.
"Chris, that is absolutely not my position," Sanders responded before reiterating the "thoughtful conversation" has had.
“We’re not going to preview our campaign strategy and not allow the press the dictate our policy rollout," the Biden advisor continued. "The vice president is not someone that will just go with the wind with my friends on the left. If that's the case, you would have probably heard him come out last night in favor of Medicare-for-all... He is someone who is authentic in his beliefs and I just really think- I'm concerned that folks are editorializing his religious beliefs..."
"I'm not sure how him answering the questions 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 rollout," Jansing shot back.
MSNBC isn't the only liberal news network that is hammering the Biden campaign over his jarring shift on the Hyde Amendment. CNN anchor Brianna Keilar grilled Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield with a similar line of questioning.