Andrew Yang Says All White Democratic Debate Stage Represents 'Realities and Inequities In Our Economy'

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, tech entrepreneur and presidential candidate Andrew Yang said that the January Democratic debate only having white candidates reflected "inequities and realities in our economy."

Colbert asked Yang about his absence from Tuesday night's Democratic debate and whether or not it mattered that he had not qualified. Yang did not meet the polling threshold in time for the January 10 deadline.

"Certainly, I would've loved to have been on the stage last night," Yang told Colbert. "Any opportunity to address the American people is a great opportunity."

When asked who bears the responsibility for only white candidates making the debate stage, Yang noted that less than five percent of Americans contribute to campaigns and "you need disposable income to contribute to campaigns and you need some form of security in order to run for office." When addressing "inequities and realities" of the economy, Yang said that if Americans were more focused on "changing those realities on the ground," the stage would be more diverse.

"If you have communities of color who are just making ends meet, they don't have the resources to contribute to campaigns at very high levels and so you wind up with a stage that does not reflect the population of the country," Yang said.

The Yang campaign declined Newsweek's request for further comment. The DNC did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The Late Show host also took the opportunity to ask the candidate some questions that were asked during the debate, including why is Yang best qualified to be president. "I'm best prepared, because I'm laser-focused on the real problems of the 21st century," he said. "We have to solve those problems like climate change, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and not just focus on the problems that have been at our plate for the last number of years and decades."

Yang also addressed what his threshold is to take action against a foreign country or an individual like Iran or Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed earlier this month in a military strike ordered by President Donald Trump.

"Number one: there has to be a clear vital American, national interest at stake or the ability to avert a humanitarian crisis," he said. "Number two: there needs to be a clearly defined timeline, where we can bring our troops back, and number three: we need to have our friends and allies with us in the mission. If those three things were in place, then I would consider military action."

Yang also criticized the airstrike that killed Soleimani. "The attack that killed General Soleimani was disproportionate to anything that came before, and we did not even consult our allies ahead of time," he said. "I was one of the candidates who said it was a mistake and brought us closer to a war that America did not want."

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Democratic presidential candidate, entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks to guests during a campaign stop on his 45th birthday at Drake University on January 13, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Scott Olson/Getty