CBTU President Melvin endorses Biden-Harris re-election bid
Terry Melvin, President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

NEW ORLEANS—Coalition of Black Trade Unionists President Terry Melvin endorsed Democratic President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for re-election at the coalition’s gathering here yesterday.

Most of his reason covers how Biden got to the presidency thanks to Black voters and what he’s accomplished despite constant Republican obstructionism. The rest is who—and what—Donald Trump is.

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be our choices this time around,” Melvin said to prolonged applause and scattered calls of “Say it!” from the 1,000 attendees at the CBTU convention in New Orleans.

“We want to be in the room when decisions are made—and we will be part of the (decisive) group from now on. This issue of who should lead the nation isn’t a complicated question.

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the president and vice president of the U.S. by and large because of the voice of so many of us” who provided key votes for Biden’s wins in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, along with his vital Democratic primary triumph in South Carolina. Melvin credited Black women there for that win.

“We are no longer at the back of the line. We are the line…We are full-time citizens with full-time power, and we are going to say it,” he declared.

“In 1972, we said Richard Nixon wasn’t entitled to re-election. We say now Donald Trump is not entitled to re-election.”

After all, there are “angry, scared white folks and he (Trump) fanned their fears,” notably about immigration, Melvin said. He also chided voters, including Black voters, who are disappointed the president did not achieve the major goals he pledged to them during the 2020 campaign.

Melvin pointed out that Biden faced an extremely difficult situation when he entered the Oval Office on Jan. 20, 2021. His Republican predecessor, Trump, attempted a coup d’état through the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol invasion and insurrection. And following Trump’s dictates, Republicans in the evenly split Senate did all they could to frustrate his program, often successfully.

Among the measures that fell victim to Republican filibuster threats were HR1, the comprehensive voting rights and protections act, the John Lewis Act, to restore the government’s power to override racist election rulings in specific states, and attempts to curtail police killings of unarmed, unresisting Blacks.

To give you an idea of the obstructionism, though Melvin did not say so, Harris cast 29 tie-breaking votes during the two-year 117th Congress. Only John C. Calhoun (31) cast more—and he served longer than Harris has. John Adams also cast 29 but in one four-year term.

The delegates applauded Melvin’s statement, but at least one, from Detroit, said she wished next year’s presidential race would not be a Biden-Trump rerun. Trump currently leads opinion polls for the Republican nomination.

Like it or not, Melvin warned, “It’s going to be Biden versus 45,” Trump’s number in the list of presidents. That’s even though Trump’s been “indicted, impeached” and “is going to jail.”

In return for such strong backing, Black voters “will demand a seat at the table” for decisions, notably on domestic policy and politics, that affect them, he declared.

Biden and Harris weren’t the sole political figures Melvin mentioned. He also had choice words, very negative words, for Trump clone Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., whom Melvin dubbed “Ron DeSatan,” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the Senate’s sole African-American Republican, who recently announced his own run for the White House.

The justice, Melvin said, “is a disgrace to Black judges everywhere” and is “corrupt” as well, referring to expensive trips and gifts he’s received over a 20-year period from a GOP big giver, Harlan Crow.  As for Scott, “He doesn’t know what it means to be Black (even) if he looked in the mirror,” Melvin declared.

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Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.