Biden defends Cabinet choices after criticism: ‘Most diverse Cabinet’ in history

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President-elect Joe Biden 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 Tapper 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 Mayorkas 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 Yellen 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 Harris 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.  

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Jake Tapper Janet Yellen Joe Biden Joe Biden Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign

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