Sen. Tammy Duckworth Vows To Hold Up Biden Cabinet Nominees Over Lack Of Asian Representation
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) broke with Democrats when she vowed this week to vote against any nominees to President Joe Biden‘s cabinet who are “non-diversity” picks, citing a lack of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPL) representation. But the senator changed her tune after hearing from top Administration officials that Biden would look to add more AAPL people to his cabinet and White House in the future.
“Senator Duckworth appreciates the Biden administration’s assurances that it will do much more to elevate AAPI voices and perspectives at the highest levels of government, including appointing an AAPI senior White House official to represent the community, secure the confirmation of AAPI appointments and advance policy proposals that are relevant and important to the community,” Duckworth spokesperson Ben Gash Garmisa said in a statement. “Accordingly, she will not stand in the way of President Biden’s qualified nominees – which will include more AAPI leaders.”
Duckworth is joined by Sen. Maize Hirono (D-Hawaii), who also pledged to vote down any non-diversity cabinet picks.
Duckworth herself confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that she is steadfast in her position. “There’s no AAPI representation in the Cabinet,” Duckworth told reporters. “There’s not a single AAPI in a Cabinet position. That’s unacceptable.”
Biden, who vowed to make his cabinet the most diverse in U.S. history, spoke about Duckworth’s claim on Thursday. “We have the most diverse Cabinet in history. We have a lot of Asian Americans that are in the Cabinet and in sub-Cabinet levels.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki then specified in a later statement that, “The White House will add a senior level Asian American Pacific Islander liaison, who will ensure the community’s voice is further represented and heard.”