TUPELO • Mayor Jason Shelton and a handful of other Mississippi mayors virtually campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday night by participating in a telephone bank event.
Ahead of the televised vice presidential debate, the Biden campaign chose to conduct the virtual event as a way to safely connect with voters in the state and make the case for why Mississippians "need to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and the importance of volunteering with the Biden campaign."
At the event Shelton championed the work that Biden accomplished while vice president and said that he worked to repair a broken economy, worked to repair infrastructure and expand affordable healthcare to people.
“We have also for the past few years seen a president who has led the most corrupt administration in our nation’s history, who has had a criminally inept response to COVID-19 and who is idolized by white nationalist, QAnon and the Proud Boys,” Shelton said. “We are truly in a battle for the soul of our nation, and I am proud to be here tonight with my fellow mayors standing on the right side of history.”
Shelton was joined by Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Meridian Mayor Percy Bland, Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons and McComb Mayor Quordiniah Lockley.
A second-term Democratic mayor in a historically Republican city, Shelton has long portrayed himself as a pragmatic figure focused on local issues rather than sharply charged fissures of national and state politics.
However, he has this year become increasingly vocal in his criticisms of Republican President Donald Trump and Republican Gov. Tate Reeves regarding the response to novel coronavirus.
Recently for example, the Tupelo mayor criticized Trump after the president, who was recently hospitalized for COVID-19, said in a message on Twitter, “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”
Shelton took to Twitter himself, writing on the social media platform, “Don’t worry kids, if you have a world class medical team, health insurance, supplemental oxygen, remdesiver, dexamethasone, monoclonal antibodies/regeneron, vitamin D, zinc, pepsid, melatonin, aspirin - but not hydroxychloroquine- and don’t mind being hospitalized- covid is ok.”
Prior to that, Shelton criticized Trump over reports in the national press that the president did not immediately quarantine upon learning he had been exposed to COVID-19.
“Great to hear that the President is feeling well,” Shelton wrote on Twitter. “Look forward to hearing his explanations of knowingly exposing others to Covid-19.”
Previously, Shelton offered wishes for the president’s speedy recovery, and repeated those sentiments early this week while addressing the Tupelo City Council.
Even as his rhetoric about the president has become increasingly controversial locally, Shelton announced in August that he would not seek a third term as mayor. In doing so, Shelton emphasized that he would support Biden's presidential bid.