Symone Sanders ‘hurt’ she wasn’t selected for Biden press secretary

"She was definitely hopeful that she would have that opportunity," her fiancé said.

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Symone Sanders, a senior advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris, frequently defended President Joe Biden against criticism during his 2020 presidential campaign. So she was understatedly “hurt” after being passed over for the White House press secretary job. 

Civil Rights attorney Bakari Sellers addresses the diss in a new Washington Post feature on Sanders and her fiancé, D.C.’s director of culture and nightlife Shawn Townsend. Sellers is a mutual friend of the couple, and he explained to the publication that Sanders was “stung” after Biden chose former Obama communications director Jen Psaki for the press secretary job. 

Read More: Biden advisor Symone Sanders says ‘Breakfast Club’ comments ‘were in jest’

“She was definitely hopeful that she would have that opportunity,” Townsend told the Post.

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Symone Sanders / Getty

Sellers said Sanders “spent a lot of capital” as senior adviser to Biden’s 2020 campaign, and she seemed to be the go-to mouthpiece for the president when it came to defending him against accusations of racism, reports that he was hiding from voters, his relationship with segregationist lawmakers and she was his biggest defender when his presidential campaign “had a problem with the Black community.”

Most notably, when Biden appeared on The Breakfast Club last May and said Black voters considering Donald Trump “ain’t Black,” Sanders took to Twitter to make clear that the comments were made “in jest.”

“Vice President Biden spent his career fighting alongside and for the African American community,” she tweeted, theGRIO previously reported. “He won his party’s nomination by earning every vote and meeting people where they are and that’s exactly what he intends to do this November.”

She continued, “The comments made at the end of the Breakfast Club interview were in jest, but let’s be clear about what the VP was saying: he was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day. Period.”

“These moments were not few and far between,” Sellers explained of the work Sanders produced on behalf of the Biden campaign. “They would send Symone out to take those bullets. . . . And then to be passed over, that hurt.”

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In this March 23, 2021, file photo, President Joe Biden speaks about the shooting in Boulder, Colo., in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Sanders, a former CNN contributor, briefly served as Sen. Bernie Sanders’ press secretary during his 2016 presidential campaign before she bailed on him in favor of Biden. As the Post reported, Sanders “picked a winner, but the winner didn’t pick her back.”

According to the article, Sanders “made it known, privately and in her book, that she hoped to be the first Black woman to hold the job of press secretary.”

Read More: Symone Sanders on how Black voters can combat voter suppression

Psaki, meanwhile, recently announced that she plans to step down from her press secretary position next year.

“I think it’s going to be time for somebody else to have this job, in a year from now or about a year from now,” she told David Axelrod on his CNN podcast “The Axe Files.”

Speaking to the Post, Sanders responded to Psaki’s statement by noting that she was “happy where I am and with what I’m doing,” adding, “And it’s keeping me very very busy!”

Townsend said Sanders was “in tears” when she received a call from VP Harris to join her team at the White House. 

*theGRIO’s Mariel Turner contributed to this report.

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