Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe Under Fire For Referring To The Selection Of African-American Vice President As “Cosmetics”

120406010959-laurence-tribe-headshot-story-bodyHarvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe is under fire this week after referring to the selection of an African American for vice president over Sen. Elizabeth Warren as mere “cosmetics.” The comment set off a firestorm with critics calling the comment racist.  I have strongly disagreed with Tribe’s legal positions and his rhetoric. However, I testified with Tribe during the Clinton impeachment and I have interacted with him for years. He is neither a racist nor dismissive of racial concerns.  Tribe has spent his life fighting for his vision of a more perfect and equal union.  People need to afford others a modicum of decency and consideration in such ill-considered commentary.  Anyone who believes that Laurence Tribe is a racist is discarding decades of public interest work over a wayward comment.

Tribe interviewed with the Washington Post to support Sen. Elizabeth Warren after signing a letter with 100 others to former Vice President Joe Biden.  He told the Washington Post that Biden should not yield to the demand to select an African American woman.  (Biden previously declared that he would not consider men for the position).  Tribe stated “I think African-Americans above all would be the first to say they are more interested in results than cosmetics.”

Former Pete Buttigieg staffer Rodericka Applewhaite, objected Tribe was engaging in racist speech. She declared Tribe “has no business speaking for Black people” and that dismissing calls for black leadership as “cosmetic” is racist.

Tribe quickly tried to quell the objections.


Notably, Tribe’s insistence that he is not “ANTI-excellent others” does not seem to include any male candidates who were categorically excluded by Biden.  Biden’s promise not to consider any male candidate would violate federal law if he were the head of a corporation as opposed to the country.

Nevertheless, “cosmetics” aside, Tribe is no racist.  Hopefully, he will be equally protective of other academics who have been recently declared racist for merely expressing their views on current events.



77 thoughts on “Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe Under Fire For Referring To The Selection Of African-American Vice President As “Cosmetics””

  1. Of course Tribe is no racist. But what difference does that make? No one can walk on these egg shells. That’s why the left is constantly devouring their own.

    1. “Nevertheless, “cosmetics” aside, Tribe is no racist. Hopefully, he will be equally protective of other academics who have been recently declared racist for merely expressing their views on current events.

      Forlorn hope, that. Laurence Tribe’s method of political discourse with those who hold other views than his has mostly been ad hominem, the politics of personal destruction. While it’s a shame to see anyone be subject to unwarranted charges of racism or any other character flaw, when has Tribe not resorted to the same tactic with people who belong to the wrong party?

      Tribe hasn’t learned anything from this, either, or he’d have treated that false accusation with the contempt it deserved. No, Tribe has made his auto da fe, lit his candle and worn sackcloth and ashes in hopes of once more joining the baying mob of character assassins now snapping at his heels.

  2. Then Rodericka Applewhaite has no right to be racist and say that all white people are privileged, which is a lie, and that all white people are racist, which is another big lie…..

    “Rodericka Applewhaite, objected Tribe was engaging in racist speech. She declared Tribe “has no business speaking for Black people” and that dismissing calls for black leadership as “cosmetic” is racist.”

  3. Biden should choose a transgender person of color. That way he’d cover all the bases. That would be the perfect choice for all the progressive lefties who could care less about the candidate’s ability and be more interested in some social agenda.

    1. Independent Bob– you forgot a very important qualification. He or she or it must have a significant criminal record to show that he or she or it can identify with the truly oppressed in this county who have been treated so badly by the police and courts, just because of a home invasion robbery or some other insignificant crime. And “of color” will never do because it has to be a black person– never forget– all lives don’t matter– only black lives matter!

      1. You’re right. But somehow I bet you left something out also.

    2. Biden should choose a box of rocks. That way, in the unfortunate event that he is elected, and dies of alzheimer’s sometime in the spring of 2021, his successor will be both harmless and a cognitive upgrade.

  4. Lawrence Tribe is arguably the most well known and renowned liberal legal academic of this generation but NO MATTER.

    No matter how liberal you are, no matter how much you donate to liberal causes, THEY STILL HATE YOU.

    A white person moves out – white flight – racism!

    A white person moves in – gentrification – racism!

    A white person sees color – racism!

    A white person does not see color – ignoring racism – racism!

    A white person engages culture – cultural appropriation – racism!

    A white person does not engage culture – non-inclusive – racism!




    1. Antonio,

      I don’t know whether you made this up yourself or found it somewhere. But it captures our toxic cultural moment precisely.

    1. mistressadams,

      schadenfreude is one of the grim few pleasures available to us these days.

  5. Uncle Ben’s rice to fall. Is it racist to expunge friendly black faces from brands or racist to have them?

    So confusing.

    If Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima have to go why do we have to have so many blacks in movies?

    1. To free enterprise, the sole criterion is accretion to EPS.

      To communists, the sole criterion is party dominion.

      It matters not what the “proles” are told, it matters that the “proles” follow orders.

      The situation is not dissimilar to the presentation of 12% of the population in 100% of the scenes on TV and in movies, entirely

      without rationale, justification or purpose other than that of indoctrination through propaganda.

      It’s all about control.

    2. Young– I did a totally unscientific survey the other night (the only valid kind) and I recorded that in a three hour span of watching television, only one commercial did not have at least one black actor in it. Not bad for a small percentage of the overall population (13.8%). I can’t wait for the commercial that sells Eliquis: “Beware, this product may cause uncontrollable fatal bleeding and remember, only black lives matter.”

  6. “The comment set off a firestorm with critics calling the comment racist.”

    – Professor Turley

    “You can’t handle the truth!”

    – Colonel Jessup

    Many cannot grasp the scope and breadth of American freedom.

    That one does not appreciate the outcomes of freedom does not nullify constitutional rights and freedoms.

    Americans may be as racist as they choose to be.

    Discrimination is the first step of freedom – if Americans cannot discriminate, Americans cannot be free.

    The American Constitution made the People the Sovereign and government the Subject of the Sovereign.

    People are not limited and restricted, government is, severely.

    The People, the Sovereign, enjoy the freedom of thought, speech, belief, religion, publication, press, assembly, segregation and every

    other conceivable natural and God-given right, freedom, privilege and immunity per the 9th Amendment.

    One cannot occupy a position in the complete absence of any citation of the Constitution.

    Racism is not unconstitutional.

    Racism is constitutional.

    To conflate violence and racism, is to prevaricate and defraud, to be duplicitous.

    Private property owners shall possess and dispose of private property without any intercession or interference by government.

    Elected officials are given the authority to exercise power for the electorate.

    The judicial branch has no authority to modify statute, law or fundamental law and it has no authority to legislate – the sole purview of the

    judicial branch is its constitutional charge to simply assure that actions comport with statute, law and fundamental law.

  7. The Left unleashed The Beast, and it will consume them all, eventually.

    More popcorn, please.

  8. ROFLMAO! Tribe is a leftist who is finding that blacks are turning on him. It’s a reverse of when Jews turned on blacks because a black janitor testified that Leo Frank killed Mary Fagan. There’ll be a lot more of this as white liberals discover that blacks hate them as much as they hate conservatives of any race.

  9. A “wayward comment”? It’s true, the selection of a VP running mate is often purely cosmetic. Sarah Palin was cosmetic. Ferraro was cosmetic. LBJ was cosmetic because JFK needed Texas ans the South. Stating the obvious cannot be “racist”. We have lost our minds. And our courage. Watch, Tribe will now apologize rather than explain his comment.

  10. I am enjoying this. Tribe helped nurture the viciousness that wants to strip his hide. The mayor of Olympia, WA knelt to BLM and cheered them on. Her home was draped with a rainbow flag and a BLM placard. But when HER home was vandalized she screamed ‘domestic terrorism’. Don’t they know SHE is special and supports them? It’s so unfair! Been a lot of that beast bites Lberal lately and I revel in every munch.

    This will keep up until even the priviledged Left realizes that once the mob is unleashed nobody is safe.

    A few more bites to go, I think.

    Rice Krispies is now racist. Snap, Crackle and Pop boys on the box are too white.

    By the way, Aunt Jemima is out now. Racist or something.

    Soon we will be terrified of putting black people on anything while also being terrified of not putting them on everything..

    1. If having Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima on packaging is racist perhaps we should have only white people on commercial products.

      Or maybe animals, but then they will have PETA after them.

  11. So Larry Tribe got in trouble because he supports Granny Warren.

  12. It’s so obvious by the way Joe Biden talks about black people that he considers them “his” property. I think that tells me everything I need to know about Biden. And his “token” VP would be window dressing for him. He’s just not sincere, and right now I don’t even think he is mentally fit.

  13. How To Know If You’re A White Racist:

    Presumably, you either have black friends, or you don’t.

    If you do not have black friends, you clearly hate black people, therefore…

    If you do have black friends, well…that’s what all the racists say, therefore…

    I’m certain that Tribe fits into one of these categories, and must be a racist.

    Oh, and if you’re not white, don’t even worry about it, you don’t qualify for consideration.

  14. I think Biden boxing himself in to making the VP choice be a woman was sexist, so limiting it to race makes it racist as well. The VP should be chosen only on basis of qualifications to step in for president. Hiring by considering race or sex first, whether it’s a VP spot of all the future promised spots on corporate boards, etc. is discriminatory to me too. “Cosmetic” was a polite term for tokenism.

  15. I’m beginning to wonder what it will take for anyone to stop capitulating. Law is great . . . assuming we still have law. At some point we are going to have to push back, and I am praying JT isn’t next in line for the virtual gulag. This really does amount to a lot of young people being unwilling to grow up, racism is the last thing it’s about at this point. This is currently one of the only places online I can share that sentiment.

    1. Go to #WalkAway Campaign on fb. You will find an entire community of people who will support you.

  16. The semi-elective vice presidency is an inane office which should be abolished. As is, if you have to have one of these, you make the best of it by selecting someone who (1) has experience in an executive position and (2) more or less agrees with you on policy and (3) won’t cause unnecessary distractions on the campaign trail. (4) If they’ve cut their teeth in a purple state and can add that extra increment to get you that state’s electoral votes, that’s gravy. (5) If you can placate a dissatisfied constituency at the convention, that’s gravy. The insipid Mr. Kaine of Virginia fulfilled four of these five criteria for Hellary in 2016. One of the worst selections of the last 50 years was that of Dan Quayle, who fulfilled only criterion #2.

    Biden is boxed in by his own ineptitude and by the concatenation of forces which gave him the nomination. So, his imperatives are to placate obnoxious and stupid people who insist on gestures of deference.

  17. Have any of you seen Leo Terrell on Hannity lately? Back in the late 60s, someone commented if LBJ has lost Walter Cronkite, he’s lost the country. Likewise, if Joe Biden has lost Leo Terrell, he’s lost a significant portion of the black community.

    1. I have little doubt Tribe is as implicated as the average professor in the distortion and disfigurement of institutional purposes in higher education, which is what the ‘diversity discourse’ amounts to (and which has the effect of promoting narcissism among blacks). That’s not his particular shtick. His actual crimes involve the promotion of systemic fraud in the realm of constitutional interpretation, in order to justify judicial imposition of policies he favors contra the preferences of elected officials. The monster turning on its creator would be a judicial decree composed of nonsense which took something he valued away from him.

      1. Absurd– That sounds right. Add to it that he is a plagiatist. And, by the way, a black VP is cosmetic; he is right about that. Ditto female.

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