Biden is facing increasing pressure to diversify his cabinet


The push comes when activists and elected officials insist that Biden fails to deliver on its promise to create an administration that reflects the diversity of the nation. The latest effort comes from members of the Spanish Congressional Congress who, in a letter obtained by CNN, asked Biden to appoint California Attorney General Xavier Becerra or Tom Perez, chairman of the National Democratic Commission, as the U.S. Attorney General.

“We are confident that he will lead the ministry in any differentiated way, represent equal protection under the law, and advance the cause of justice for all Americans,” the letter read.

However, Biden has appointed white candidates to the two highest-level cabinets – the Secretary of State and the Minister of Finance. Black and Latin leaders are concerned that colored people are primarily nominated for second-class positions in Biden’s administration and are asking Biden to select different candidates to fill the remaining senior positions, saying this reflects the underrepresented groups in the in the leadership of the nation. Their demands come at a time when the nation stems from police killings of blacks, massive protests urging racial equality this year, and President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policy.

Leaders of seven black-led civil rights groups say they have asked for a meeting to discuss the need for additional black candidates for Biden’s cabinet.

Groups included the National Action Network, the NAACP, the National City League, the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, the NAACP Rights Protection Fund, the Lawyers ’Legal Rights Committee, and the Civil and Human Rights Management Conference. The Washington Post first reported their request for a meeting.

Reverend Al Sharpton, who heads the National Action Network, said Biden had not yet agreed on a date for the meeting. He wants to see black leaders in positions like the U.S. Attorney General, Secretary of Education and Labor.

“We are in an era of heightened alert in the area of ​​race and criminal justice,” Sharpton told CNN. “And anything you don’t recognize means that the people who voted for it, feeling like you’re dealing with it, will feel a sense of betrayal.”

The effort, which focuses on increasing representation at the highest levels of government, also extends to excluding certain possible cabinet selections from the Biden administration.

NAACP president Derrick Johnson told CNN on Wednesday that there are currently at least two examples of administrative roles that would be “extremely problematic for the African-American community:” Former White House cabinet chief Rahm Emanuel. considered Secretary of Transport, and former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, whose name was re-recorded to fill this position again.
Emanuel Laquan has sparked strong criticism from civil rights groups over McDonald’s police shooting. In 2010, Vilsack had to apologize to Shirley Sherrod, a black woman, for forcing him to resign on the basis of incomplete and misleading accounts of his speech for his work in the Georgian government.

Congressional pressure

While pressure from outside groups such as the National Urban League and the NAACP to meet with them and discuss the future of his cabinet is running, members of the Congressional Black Caucasus are also demanding more transparency from Biden’s team about plans for future nominations.

New Jersey MP Bonnie Watson Coleman, a member of the Congressional Black Caucasus, told CNN that although he had already had some previous conversations with Biden’s team about his first 100 days and recruits, he needed to see more black men and women in top-level positions. .

Stressing that he did not speak for the Black House of Representatives and only expressed his own views, Coleman said he had so far been “disappointed” in the number of black women who had been elected to top positions.

Biden has chosen Cecilia Rouse to lead her economic advisory board and Thomas-Greenfield as the next U.S. ambassador to the United States, both women black women, but Coleman says she hopes to have more.

“I am disappointed that I have not seen enough black women or black men. I note that many more positions need to be advertised,” he said.

Biden is moving fast to build a diverse administration

The night Biden delivered his acceptance speech, he recognized that the black community was the cornerstone of electoral success in both the pre-election and general elections: “The African American community has stood by me again. I always have my back and I get yours.”

Coleman said that night that the line had stuck on it and that it meant something now.

“The black community has high expectations, not only of appointing a lot of people to random positions, but also of standing at a table when important conversations are taking place, when setting policies and priorities,” he said. .

His remarks also come after South Carolina MP Jim Clyburn, a member of the Democratic leadership, urged Ohio MP Marcia Fudge to take first place in the Department of Agriculture. Clyburn said the Biden team should continue to appoint additional black men and women to top positions.

Clyburn said Wednesday night that he was watching as Biden continued his cabinet selection with a variety of eyes, saying, “I can think of at least 10 black people who are eligible for each qualification.”

In addition to the three cabinet-level positions that colorful people can hold until the Senate is ratified, Biden has also announced a number of historic priorities in other positions in his administration. Wally Adeyemo would be the first black person to serve as deputy secretary of the treasury, for example, and Rouse would be the first black person to be appointed chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

“President-elect Biden is building a diverse administration that resembles America, starting with the first woman of South Asian descent and the first black woman to serve as elected vice president,” Cameron French, a transition spokesman, told CNN in a statement. “Both his campaign and his transition have succeeded in this effort. He has announced a number of historic and diverse White House appointments and cabinet candidates so far, and his success in finding different voices in developing and implementing his political vision to address our nation’s most difficult challenges. the full list of candidates has been completed. ”

External groups are temporarily looking for meetings

Johnson from the NAACP told CNN on Wednesday that his organization and other civil rights groups had asked Bidend and Kamala Harris for time to discuss the new administration and ensuring the representation of minority and civil rights on the Biden government’s agenda.

They haven’t heard any feedback from the transition team yet, Johnson said.

A temporary official at Biden told CNN they had contacted the NAACP LDF and the National Urban League.

“It’s about ensuring that the civil rights agenda is embedded in government decisions,” Johnson said. “Several discussions were held with other constituency groups. There was no meeting with the civil rights community. We would like to meet so that we can give the necessary feedback and input to be successful.”

“We don’t want the class to expire before a discussion or any decision is made,” Johnson said.

Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS, requests that there be at least five Latin secretaries in the cabinet and that 800 – or 20% of the 4,000 administrative positions be filled by qualified Latinos.

“Such Latin representation would not only reflect the reality of the United States, where Spaniards make up 18 percent of the population and are the largest ethnic minority bloc, but respect the contribution of Latinos to our country throughout its history,” Murguía said. . “Everyone benefits when everyone has a chance to contribute.” ”

Sharpton told CNN that one of Biden’s most important choices in proving he’s serious about standing up for the black community comes when he chooses his attorney general.

“So far cosmetically, that’s good,” Sharpton said of Biden’s summary. “But I’m worried that justice, labor, education and agriculture are still open … He hasn’t had conversations with many that he would have said.”

Sharpton argued that it was important for black leaders and congressional leaders to speak up now.

“We don’t want to wait until the other shoe falls off and they say,‘ Grab it. We are worried about that. We wanted to prevent it because the top level it gives is no longer as diverse as some other appointments. Other appointments are good, but not top-notch, “Sharpton said.” We don’t want to be invited to the party after all the food is consumed. ”

Sharpton called Biden’s election as attorney general “a critical point in judging Biden’s cabinet.”

He argued that Tony West, a former attorney general during the Obama administration, or Deval Patrick, a civil rights attorney and former governor of Massachusetts, could be a good choice.

He also named Senate Doug Jones, a former U.S. lawyer in Alabama, who filed a lawsuit in civil law cases.

“I’m not saying they have to be black, but they have to be Americans who understand systematic racism,” Sharpton said.

CNN’s Jessica Dean, MJ Lee and Sarah Mucha contributed to the report.