The president-elect noted that the group of candidates he had hitherto named “the most diverse cabinet in American history he has ever announced.” Harris also writes history as the first woman, the first man of black and South Asian descent to become vice president.
Biden said he scheduled a meeting with the NAACP on Tuesday. NAACP president Derrick Johnson told CNN on Wednesday that his organization and other civil rights groups have asked for time with Biden and Harris to discuss the incoming administration and ensure minority and civil rights representation is on their agenda.
“It’s their job to push me,” Biden said, noting that every advocacy group “pushes more and more what they want. It’s their job.”
“My job is to keep my commitment to decision-making,” Biden said. “And when it’s all over, people will look and say, I promise you, all the people, the Asian Americans, the African-Americans, the Latinos, the LGBTQ representatives will see the most diverse representatives.”
Biden said the other cabinet candidates will be announced “about next month.”
Biden has so far nominated four people from different backgrounds in his cabinet: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a UN ambassador candidate, a black woman; Homeland Security Minister candidate Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban American man who would serve the first Latin American service in this position if confirmed by the Senate; Neera Tanden, the first woman of color and the first person in South Asia to be appointed to head the Office of Administration and Budget; and Cecilia Rouse, who will be the first colorful woman to be appointed chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, a position Biden said last week that she would raise to cabinet level.
Biden also announced a number of other historical priorities for other positions in his administration, including Wally Adeyemó, who would be the first black man to serve as deputy secretary of the treasury.
But some elected officials, activists and civil rights groups regret that Biden has not done enough to diversify his cabinet.
Members of the Spanish Congressional Congress have asked Biden to appoint either California Attorney General Xavier Becerra or Tom Perez, chairman of the National Democratic Commission, as U.S. Attorney General. CHC members are also lobbying for the appointment of Michelle Lujan Grisham, the new Mexican governor, to the role of health and human service secretary.
South Carolina MP Jim Clyburn, an influential member of the Democratic leadership, said the Biden team should continue to appoint more black men and women to top management positions. Clyburn’s approval helped Biden win the South Carolina preselection, which revived his campaign and set him on the path to winning the Democratic nomination.
Clyburn said on Wednesday, “I can think of at least 10 black people who can qualify for each,” Biden said from cabinet candidates. Clyburn urged Ohio MP Marcia Fudge, led by the Department of Agriculture.