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Tom Steyer says he pressured the DNC to change criteria to allow minority candidates to the debate

'There is absolutely no way that that would be appropriate in any other way'

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California billionaire Tom Steyer said that he pressured the Democratic National Committee to change its debate criteria to allow in more minorities after Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) dropped out.

Steyer was speaking with Lisa Desjardins of the PBS NewsHour after the Democratic debate when he made the comments.

"Do you feel that the Democrats have to have someone on the ticket who is a person of color?" Desjardins asked.

"Look as soon as Kamala Harris withdrew I put out a statement to the DNC publicly, asking them to change the criteria to make sure we had a more diverse group of candidates on this stage," Steyer responded.

"I absolutely believe in diversity, I absolutely believe we need a diverse ticket under all circumstances," he added.

"There is absolutely no way that that would be appropriate in any other way," he concluded.

The Democratic debate was criticized by many on the left and the right for having too few candidates who were persons of color. Of the seven candidates who made it to the debate stage, only entrepreneur Andrew Yang was a minority, and none were black or Hispanic.

Harris dropped her presidential campaign, partly because of lack of support from the black community, at the beginning of December.

Here's the interview with Steyer:

WATCH: Steyer on needing diversity at the debate, maintaining relations with China www.youtube.com

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