- Cedric Richmond said it was "political malpractice" for any Democratic candidate to rebuff a Biden campaign visit.
- "If you don't want Biden, it's malpractice," he told The Washington Post, pointing to the president's policy wins.
- As the midterm elections approach, Biden is set to become more active on the campaign trail.
As vice president, Joe Biden was one of the most sought-after Democratic surrogates, often traveling to rural locales in the Rust Belt where his popularity eclipsed that of his then-boss, President Barack Obama.
For candidates running in districts where the Democratic Party had fallen out of favor with many voters, Biden's presence afforded them a prominent national voice who could rally the party faithful and appeal to a broad swath of the electorate.
However, with Biden now in the Oval Office and having endured months of middling approval ratings, some Democratic candidates have made it a point to back the party's legislative initiatives while also distancing themselves from the president on the campaign trail.
And Cedric Richmond, a former Louisiana congressman and ex-director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, recently spoke out against such thinking.
With Democrats buoyed by Biden signing into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which will provide record funding to fight climate change, along with a $52 billion chips-funding bill and last year's $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the senior official at the Democratic National Committee was incredulous that any member would be hesitant to appear with the president while campaigning.
"A lot of these things, Democrats have been trying to accomplish them for a long time," he told The Washington Post. "Who wouldn't want the person who was finally able to do that to come and campaign for them?"
"If they are reluctant, I think it's political malpractice. If you don't want Biden, it's malpractice," he added.
Richmond went on to state that he felt confident that Biden would have a robust campaign schedule headed into the fall midterm elections, and dismissed the notion that candidates are seeking to keep the president's at arm's length.
"If we had a dollar for every time someone underestimated or counted Joe Biden out, we could pay off the national debt," he told the newspaper. "You'll see his numbers go up, you'll see accomplishments happen. That's what voters want to see — and if I'm a candidate, I'd tie myself to that."
Richmond last month said in a CNN interview that intraparty attacks on the Biden administration were "the same foolishness that got us Donald Trump."
In interviews with reporters, Democratic candidates have often been asked if they would welcome a Biden visit and many have skipped the question and stressed that they are running local races.
But a sustained shift in Biden's approval ratings in the coming weeks could dramatically recalibrate how some candidates view a potential presidential campaign appearance.