(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Democratic members of Congress criticized presidential candidate Dean Phillips after he removed the word “diversity” from his campaign website.
Phillips’ website renamed a section titled “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” to “Equity & Restorative Justice” on Tuesday, according to Politico. The move drew criticism from fellow Democrats, with one arguing he had been influenced by a $1 million donation from billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman.
“I’m disappointed,” Democratic Virginia Rep. Don Beyer told Politico. Democrats shouldn’t be pressured by the right into “abandoning things we believe in,” Beyer told Politico.
“I think that speaks volumes as to what his values are,” Democratic California Rep. Barbara Lee told Politico.
Many on social media pointed out that Ackman is opposed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, and shortly after Ackman said that Phillips had learned what DEI really means following a dialogue between the two, according to The New York Times.
Democratic Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford appeared to suggest that Phillips was bought off by Ackman, a claim that Ackman and the Phillips campaign denies. Horsford posted two pictures of headlines to Twitter, with one showing the $1 million donation to the PAC supporting Phillips’ run, and another showing Phillips campaign removing “diversity.”
Shot Chaser pic.twitter.com/BNumaiIBbr
— Steven Horsford (@StevenHorsford) January 17, 2024
“I didn’t suggest that Dean should eliminate the DEI title from a section of his website. He did that on his own initiative and without any push from me. I give Dean a lot of credit for being open to input from supporters on various issues. That said, based on what is still on his website, he still has much to learn about the problems with the DEI ideology and its impact on education, government and corporations,” Ackman said in a statement Wednesday.
Ackman spearheaded a push to remove Harvard President Claudine Gay from the university following plagiarism scandals and her refusal to say if calling for the genocide of Jews violated the school’s code of conduct at a Dec. 5 congressional hearing. He has been sharply critical of DEI measures at elite schools, saying it is a “major contributing source of discriminatory practices on campus and highly damaging.”
“Representative Phillips is one of the only members of Congress who has never accepted PAC money or lobbyist money or had a leadership PAC,” Katie Dolan, a spokeswoman for Phillips’s campaign, told The New York Times. “Representative Phillips is unbought.”
The Phillips campaign did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.