Rep. Barbara Lee, the Progressive Powerhouse and Longtime Lawmaker, on the Election, the Coronavirus, and Racial Justice

Nearly four full years after the 2016 presidential election, US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) still can’t bring herself to call Donald Trump her president. Instead, she prefers the phrase “the 45th occupant of the White House,” which she considers to be more factually accurate. It’s also, she argues, a testament to leadership ability, the lack of which has become more pronounced as the country slogs its way through a devastating pandemic that’s halted the economy and put into focus glaring racial disparities in health and everyday life.

On August 6, I chatted with Rep. Lee as she hunkered down on Capitol Hill. Our discussion was part of an ongoing summer series of livestreamed events hosted by Mother Jones with changemakers including Stacey Abrams and Diane Guerrero. When Lee and I spoke, she was gridlocked with Republicans. Congress was trying—and mostly failing—to broker a bailout deal that could provide at least temporary relief to the millions of people in America who’ve lost their jobs and face the imminent threat of being evicted from their homes. In our wide-ranging conversation, Lee reflected on her decades of experience in public service and the life of her dear colleague Rep. John Lewis to paint a picture of real leadership that’s informed, empathetic, and steadfast.

Check out our conversation on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, and if you’re able to, consider supporting Mother Jones with a donation to keep our reader-supported conversations and investigative reporting going strong as the elections near.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate