MSNBC Anchor Clashes with Biden Advisor Symone Sanders Over Hyde Amendment Flip-Flop

MSNBC Anchor Clashes with Biden Advisor Symone Sanders Over Hyde Amendment Flip-Flop

Joe Biden’ campaign advisor Symone Sanders clashed with MSNBC’s Chris Jansing over whether the former vice president “caved to pressure” when he reversed his position this week and announced he no longer supports the Hyde amendment, which bans federal funds from being used for abortions.

Sanders began the segment by dodging the question of whether Biden caved by recasting Biden’s decision as a defense of Roe v. Wade. Jansing jumped in to remind her that Biden’s devoition to defending Roe was not the question. Sanders then interrupted and the two started going at each other, with Sanders hollering “Let me be frank! I’m going to be frank with you!”

Sanders then swore up and down that Biden’s new position is not a “reversal,” but rather the endpoint of “a thoughtful conversation” inside the campaign “about access and health care.”

This line is how Biden tried to frame his flip-flop in announcing it: by claiming it is part of a broader recognition of how improving health for women depends on them having access to reproductive care, including abortion.

Sanders also tried to blame the press, twice saying that the campaign will not allow the press to dictate terms of Biden’s policy rollouts.

Jansing tried one more time to nail Biden for flip-flopping by noting that the Hyde amendment has been in place and enforced since 1976 before asking if it was the campaign’s position that for all those years, the one-time senator who voted in favor of the amendment innumerable times had not understood how the amendment negatively affected health care for poor women who could not access abortion services because they could not afford them privately.

Sanders, seeming to get angry now, stuck to her contention that the change was the result of a “thoughtful conversation” within the campaign about how to reconcile Biden’s favoring the amendment with the health care policy it swears it will roll out soon.

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.