Pose star Angelica Ross gives blistering critique of Joe Biden’s presidency: ‘They are doing the bare minimum’

·4-min read

Angelica Ross has shared her profound disappointment in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris after promising to always hold them accountable.

Speaking to Self magazine in October 2020, just before the US presidential election, the Pose star urged readers to vote Biden to stop “the terrible, gushing bleeding under the Donald Trump regime”.

“Joe Biden, you do not have my endorsement,” she added. “What you have is my commitment to hold you accountable to all of the things that we say we, the people, need,” including better reproductive healthcare for Black women, education, housing for Black trans women, improved mental health care and the defunding of the police. “No honeymoon phase,” she added.

Six months into Biden’s presidency, Ross told PinkNews she is “not impressed” by the current administration’s direction.

“I’m actually quite annoyed,” she said. “I feel that they are doing the bare minimum, because the bare minimum is so much better than having Trump in office.

“They know this and are riding that wave. They have somebody spitting out cliches every five minutes and it’s so not real, I don’t feel like I’m having a real conversation.”

Angelica Ross and Kamala Harris.
Angelica Ross and Kamala Harris. (Steve Pope/Getty for GLAAD)

The activist, actor and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises pointed to the US’ continued aid contributions to Israel as an example of where the Biden administration could – and should – be doing better.

The US gave $3.8 billion to Israel in 2020, almost all of which of which was military aid. This was part of a 10-year agreement signed by the Obama administration – one that Biden, who took office in January 2021, is facing pressure to reexamine.

“Why are we doing these things in the midst of us understanding what colonisation has done and looks like around the world?” Ross asked.

Angelica Ross says Juneteenth holiday is a hollow gesture

Angelica Ross also criticised vice president Kamala Harris over a recent speech in which she told would-be undocumented migrants from Guatemala: “Do not come.”

“I am just like, what’s going on here?” Ross said.

She also called the White House’s move to make Juneteenth a national holiday – a decision criticised by those seeking more meaningful actions, such as reparations – a hollow one.

“What folks don’t understand is, America loves symbols of change more than it loves actual change,” Ross said.

“This holiday, white people [also] get off, which means that the courts are closed. So those who are wrapped up in the criminal justice system, who are seeking to be free, and to celebrate the end of slavery or freedom [remain in detention].

“The reality is, there hasn’t been an end to the prison industrial complex, which is basically legalised slavery.”

Angelica Ross
Angelica Ross speaking at the 2020 Embrace Ambition Summit by the Tory Burch Foundation. (Craig Barritt/Getty for Tory Burch Foundation)

Ross, who in September became the first trans person to host a forum for presidential candidates, knows that there is an incongruence between her “radical” politics and the administration’s centre-left stance.

“They’re not willing to have the radical conversations I want to have around defunding the police and things like that,” she said.

“We can imagine things beyond policing, it’s just that people’s mindsets are so small around that.

“I’m hoping that we reach a space where we can cut the crap. And in the same ways that folks talk about the defunding the schools and defunding programmes in the schools, how about we defund the militarised attack on our citizens, how about we say that there should be no funding allocated to military equipment being used on citizens who are taking to the streets to do their first amendment right?

“I’ve often been invited to the White House to have these conversations. I’m sure that maybe I’ll continue to be invited. I don’t know. But either way, whether I have an invite or not, I’ve learned how to use my voice and platform to get them to pay attention.”

Ross stressed that Black organisers armed with detailed plans for Black liberation – including ways to defund the police and reimagine justice – are all too often ignored by white politicians.

“You give us a holiday instead,” she said. “They’re playing in our faces, and it’s super frustrating.”

“So when people look over and be like, ‘Well, Angelica, you told us to vote for such and such….’

“I sure did. And let me show you also how I’m going to use my platform to continue to hold them accountable.”

Despite her criticisms, Ross believes Biden and Harris are “our best shot” at advancing equality and civil rights.

“We can put the pressure on them. The same way we were on Trump, we can be on them and get results, I believe, because they at least care a little bit more about optics and the way that things look.”

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