NYT Ed Board Member Wrote Out ‘Full Draft’ of Biden Endorsement, but Scrapped It over His ‘Normal’ Message and Lack of ‘Urgency’

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attends a campaign event at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, U.S., January 18, 2020. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Kathleen Kingsbury, a deputy editorial page editor and member of The New York Times’s editorial board, revealed Thursday that she wrote a full 2,000-word endorsement of Joe Biden, only for the board to reject it because “it didn’t match the moment.”

The Times broke new ground this cycle by conducting on-the-record interviews with nine of the top candidates and airing the interviews, which have historically been off-the-record, on their documentary show The Weekly on FX.

Kingsbury explained to Times columnists on the The Argument podcast how the Times editorial board arrived at its first-ever dual endorsement of Senators Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), saying that “policy prescriptions” and the “messages” drove much of the thought-process. She also dismissed concerns about electability, calling the effort to predict which candidate would be most successful in the general election a “fool’s errand.”

“What we realized is that the party needs to have that conversation amongst itself. It’s really not the role of the editorial board to determine the future of the Democratic Party,” Kingsbury said.

But she revealed that, following heightened tensions with Iran after President Trump’s decision to kill Qasem Soleimani, she went ahead and drafted an endorsement of Biden, citing his opposition to the war in Afghanistan.

“Right after we had the outbreak of conflict with Iran, I sat down and I wrote an entire endorsement of Joe Biden,” Klingsbury said. “I think that came from a desire on my part for the comfort of having someone who during his interviews, spoke so fluently about foreign policy, who’s been in the room in some of those more difficult decision-making [moments].”

In August, Biden fabricated an Afghanistan-war story about how he resisted safety concerns to travel to “godforsaken country” and honor a war hero.

“We can lose a vice president,” he recounted at a campaign event. “We can’t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.”

Klingsbury then explained why the Times ultimately did not pursue Biden’s endorsement, implying that Biden’s campaign hasn’t meaningfully grappled with the conditions that gave rise to Trump’s election.

“Joe Biden’s message simply is ‘let’s go back to normal, whatever normal is, right?’ For a lot of Americans, ‘normal’ wasn’t working and I think that there needs to be some recognition that at least for some portion of the American public, the government and the economic systems were failing them,” she said.

In an emailed statement to National Review, Kingsbury said she did not “have much to say beyond what I said on The Argument.” She declined to comment on whether the board wrote any other endorsement drafts, or when it decided to scrap Biden’s.

“Once I had a draft in hand, I realized I should return to the wisdom of my board,” she explained “. . . [Biden’s] message and his proposed plans don’t feel like they match the urgency of the moment.”

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