California Rep. Karen Bass said in an interview aired Thursday that she believes President Donald Trump is racist and that he is “essentially giving license to racists.”

Bass, the 66-year-old chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has gained traction in the search for Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick, CNN previously reported, based more than two dozen recent interviews with members of Congress, top Democratic donors, Biden allies and others close to the vice presidential vetting process.

The congresswoman was asked by David Axelrod, a senior CNN political commentator and host of “The Axe Files,” whether she thought Trump is a racist. Bass responded, “Yes, I do. I don’t think there’s anything new about that.”

“I think he’s second generation, I mean, his father was. They were charged with discrimination, housing discrimination, sued by the federal government,” Bass said.

“Everything that has come out of his mouth, not just against Black people, I mean, he started his campaign with racist attacks on Mexicans. He’s attacked Native Americans and his latest attacks are on Asian Americans by calling the (coronavirus) as the China virus. And there has been attacks against the Asian Pacific Islander community. People have been hurt because of his essentially giving license to racists that might have been a little dormant for a minute, but who now feel completely emboldened and empowered,” Bass said.

Biden has said he would choose his vice presidential running mate this week. He has said he will choose a female running mate, and has faced pressure within the Democratic Party to choose a woman of color. If selected as Biden’s running mate and then elected in November, Bass would become both the first woman and the first Black vice president in US history.

The former vice president said last month that Trump was the first racist to win the presidency. When Biden launched his presidential campaign last year, he said he was motivated by Trump’s comment that there were “very fine people on both sides” of clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, between White supremacists who marched there and counter-protesters who objected to their racism.

Bass said she believed part of the Republican Party’s strategy for the 2020 election is to “run a racist campaign.”

“I’m very clear that the Republican Party has two strategies for this election. And one is to resurrect the ghost of Joe McCarthy and the Cold War. And two is to resurrect the ghost of George Wallace and run a racist campaign,” Bass said.

“And so I’m not surprised by either, all of the President’s language today, you could go back and get clips of George Wallace to hear him talk about the suburbs and the property values, and we’re not going to let the low-income people come,” Bass continued. “You know, I think that he doesn’t use dog whistles. He uses a bullhorn. And I think Joe McCarthy, that found communists everywhere under every pillow, chased and harassed people in government agencies and the racial side of it that’s coming, I think that is their strategy. And I think that’s the strategy of a desperate party.”

Bass is serving her fifth term representing California’s 37th Congressional District, which is based in Los Angeles County. She was first elected to Congress in 2010.

Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), who is one of the possible candidates for Joe Biden’s Vice President, stands for a portrait in her office at the Rayburn House Office Building on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Bass worked as a community organizer in South Los Angeles in the 1990s and early 2000s. As speaker of the California Assembly during the great recession, she had to make ideological compromises that led to deep budget cuts to social programs, which she has described in interviews at the time as deeply painful. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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