U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri has snagged a prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week, his chief of staff said.
Cleaver, a former Kansas City mayor and Methodist pastor, will speak to delegates on Wednesday night about the importance of unity and civility, said Cleaver Chief of Staff John Jones.
And of course, he will make the case for a Hillary Clinton presidency.
The timing of the speech hasn’t been finalized, but it is expected to be broadcast at or near prime time.
“Congressman Cleaver looks forward to sharing with the American people his belief that Hillary Clinton will never give up and — no matter the challenges before her — she will never give anyone a reason to question her commitment to serve all Americans,” Jones in an email.
The Clinton campaign also has asked Cleaver to be an active surrogate for her in media appearances during the convention, and he will be delivering remarks at a number of Democratic and Missouri events throughout the week, Jones said.
Cleaver’s term as mayor of Kansas City, Mo., coincided with much of President Bill Clinton’s time in office, and Cleaver is a longtime Clinton supporter.
He endorsed Hillary Clinton over then-Sen. Barack Obama in Aug. 2007, saying it was a “question of loyalty” to a friend and he was convinced she could win.
As one of the few black lawmakers who supported Clinton at the time, Cleaver faced a backlash from some in the African American community who accused him, among other things, of being an “Uncle Tom.”
But Cleaver continued to stick by Clinton even as her chances of winning the nomination that year faded.
Ultimately, Obama didn’t seem to hold a grudge.
He named Cleaver one of 32 national co-chairs of his reelection campaign, and Cleaver was given a prime-time speaking role at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Now he will have another chance to address a national audience, this time at a convention nominating Clinton, his original candidate of choice.