Jim Clyburn Apologizes To Pelosi After Saying ‘Tokenism Is All Right With’ Her

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Jim Clyburn
Reacting to the death of Osama bin Laden, the House Democratic leadership lauds President Obama as they comment on the operation that took down the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the U.S., at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, May 2, 2011. From left to right are: Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn, D-SC, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Jim Clyburn apologized to his longtime colleagues and allies Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for saying “tokenism is all right with “ them, reported POLITICO. Recently, Clyburn – who is the House Majority Whip – said Pelosi and Hoyer did not have enough diversity in their offices.

“All I’m saying is that if you need 90 percent of African American votes, in order to get 50 percent of the total vote, then you ought to allow your staff to be reflective of those congressional districts. That’s all I said,” Clyburn told the Wall Street Journal. (WSJ). “Diversity, to me, means more than hiring one African American.”

Both Pelosi and Hoyer disputed Clyburn’s claims, citing high numbes of people of color, LQBTQ individuals and women among their diverse staffs.

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“Speaker Pelosi’s office is, without rival, the most diverse office on Capitol Hill. Speaker Pelosi has always believed in the importance of leading by example,” said Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman.

“I’mdisappointed … I think he’s wrong,” Hoyer told POLITICO, stating 70 percent of his congressional aides represent diverse groups. “.”

Clyburn is the highest-ranking Black person in Congress. The South Carolina Democrat has been under lots of scrutiny for recent statements he’s made on various issues.

However, he walked back his comments about Pelosi and Hoyer.

“I did not intend anything as any criticism of Steny or Nancy, because I don’t think they deserve to be criticized on hiring practices. Nancy’s got a whole lot of black folks on her staff,” Clyburn told WSJ in a follow-up. 

Pelosi also confirmed she and Clyburn had a conversation and he apologized.