Progressives on Friday called on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to part ways with Larry Summers after it was reported that the economist is advising the former vice president's campaign on how to jumpstart the economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis passes.
"Talking to Larry Summers about economic policy is a declaration of war on everyone who doesn't own a vacation home," tweeted journalist Kelsey D. Atherton.
The Dems are more to the left than ever!!!! Larry Summers is helping them in their new leftism. It's so lefty and inspiring. https://t.co/gc0Xq0vz1R
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 23, 2020
In a joint statement, Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement announced they are launching a petition asking Biden to disavow Summers, who the groups noted has a long history of advocating for harmful economic policies and a record of bigoted statements.
"Joe Biden has a major trust gap that he must overcome with progressives and voters under 45 who voted overwhelmingly against him in the primary and who he'll need to defeat Trump," the groups said. "Larry Summers' legacy is advocating for policies that contributed to the skyrocketing inequality and climate crisis we're living with today."
The groups listed a number of problematic statements made and positions taken by Summers over his career, including advocating for the Keystone XL pipeline, his opposition to a wealth tax, and comments dismissing the importance of women and African countries.
A memo rom Lawrence Summers, currently advising the Biden campaign, arguing that Africa is under-polluted and "the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable" pic.twitter.com/zxUd11qIG6
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) April 23, 2020
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As Bloomberg reported, the economist's involvement in the Biden campaign was good news for those who had wondered about Biden's commitment to right-wing economic policies as the former vice president attempts to rhetorically win over supporters of former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):
Summers' involvement in Biden's campaign, however, offered some reassurance to Wall Street that Biden is not moving too far to the left from the centrist positions that earned him his establishment support.
But for progressives, the prospect of Summers being involved with the Biden campaign and his prospects in a hypothetical Biden presidency were the strongest indication yet that the former vice president intends to pursue right-wing economic policies if elected president.
"If Summers were to land a top job in the Biden administration it would signal a clear shift to the right," tweeted HuffPost's Zach Carter.
Political comedian James Adomian opined that the move was a direct attack on the left and sends a message that should not be ignored.
"There is no upside to appointing Larry Summers to anything. His record is 100% evil and failure," Adomian said. "Tapping him is exclusively a fuck you gesture with no other purpose."