Rep. Karen Bass eulogized Communist Party USA leader as ‘friend and mentor’


Rep. Karen Bass, who is reportedly among Joseph R. Biden’s short list of potential running mates, eulogized a top member of the Communist Party USA in 2017, calling him a “friend and mentor” who was “instrumental” in her early political career.

According to remarks she entered into the Congressional Record, Ms. Bass praised Oneil Marion Cannon, a top member of the Communist Party USA for decades, several days after his death, Politico first reported.

Oneil was instrumental in supporting my own work as a community organizer early in my life, and without his help my life would have taken a very different path,” Ms. Bass said at the time. “I would like to salute Oneil Cannon for his long-standing commitment to serving and uplifting others, and for a century of fighting to make the world a better place.”

The California Democrat made no mention in her remarks of Mr. Cannon’s long-running affiliation with the Communist Party USA.

Ms. Bass’s spokesman, Zach Seidl, asserted that the congresswoman is a Democrat and that her friendship with Cannon was no different than her friendship with any other person with differing politics.

Karen Bass has always been a Democrat and only a Democrat,” Mr. Seidl told Politico in a statement. “The Congresswoman is friends with Kevin McCarthy and is not a Republican. She knew Oneil Cannon but never shared the political ideology he may have had at one time in his life.

“While she and Cannon differed politically, she recognizes work he did in the community,” he wrote. “He taught the printing trade to generations of young people in South Los Angeles and he co-founded a wellness center, which is South LA’s first organic produce market and a local food hub increasing access to healthy local food for the entire South Los Angeles community.”

The news comes after Ms. Bass was forced to deny Communist leanings after resurfaced comments revealed she referred to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as “comandante en jefe,” a title signifying respect, in November 2016.

“I am not a Communist,” Ms. Bass declared Monday.

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