Biden defends Cabinet choices after criticism: 'Most diverse Cabinet' in history

Biden defends Cabinet choices after criticism: 'Most diverse Cabinet' in history
© Getty Images

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE in an interview on Thursday defended his Cabinet picks as he faces pressure from critics who say his nominees are not diverse enough.

"I'm going to keep my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going to look like the country," Biden told CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Chuck Todd reluctant to 'ban' election deniers from 'Meet the Press' Police investigating death of TV anchor who uncovered Clinton tarmac meeting as suicide MORE on Thursday. 

The president-elect went on to tout his current slate of nominees as "the most diverse Cabinet anyone in American history has ever announced." 


Biden has nominated Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Black woman, to serve as ambassador to the United Nations and Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasSupreme Court dismisses moot 'Remain in Mexico' case Canadian ambassador calls for close coordination in handling of US border Harris signals a potential breakthrough in US-Mexico cooperation MORE to serve as the Homeland Security security. Mayorkas would be the first Latin person hold the role if confirmed. He has also nominated Avril Haines to be the director of national intelligence and Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenAs climate threats escalate, ESG needs an 'R' for resilience On The Money: Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall | Schumer, Pelosi meeting with White House on infrastructure Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall MORE to serve as Treasury secretary. Both would be the first women to serve in the positions. 

Additionally, Biden has appointed a diverse pool of administration officials, including an all-female communications team. 

Biden is expected to announce more Cabinet picks in the coming weeks, but Black leaders have expressed concern about what many are saying is a lack of representation in the incoming administration. 

“You see many very capable competent individuals who are providing insight and bringing to bear some of their knowledge in [their] subject matter areas, but there [is] no one on the transition team from the civil rights community,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. 

Biden said on Thursday that he is scheduled to meet with the civil rights group next week.


"Their job is to push me," Biden said, referring to advocacy organizations. 

"My job is to keep my commitment to make the decisions," he continued. "And when it's all over people will take a look and say, I promise you, you'll see the most diverse Cabinet representative of all folks, Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ, across the board."

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisA call to action for strategic space competition with China Old-guard Democrats must end the filibuster and symbolic progress Biden job approval at 43 percent in Iowa: poll MORE also responded to criticism from progressives that individuals from their wing of the party are not represented in the incoming administration. 

“We’re not done yet, Jake, we’re not even halfway there,” Harris said. 

Biden also noted that Mayorkas was a progressive, and said there will be other progressives serving in his administration. 

"What I think people are saying is, a lot of people are saying, am I going to pick some very, very prominent progressive who sits in the House or the Senate right now," Biden said. "As close as everything is in terms of the House and the Senate, they are tough decisions to make," he added, referring to the narrow margins in the chambers.

"I understand the push," he said.