UPDATED 9:00 AM PT – Friday, April 2, 2021
Joe Biden held his first cabinet meeting and choose to celebrate the diversity of his secretaries as opposed to their qualifications. Instead of reassuring Americans that he had selected the best men and women for their respective jobs during his first meeting, he praised how they all looked so different from one another.
Biden’s obsession with how his cabinet “looks” is a stark change from the tone of the first cabinet meeting held by President Trump who championed the qualifications of those around him. During this meeting, which came nearly five months after he took office, President Trump took a moment to discuss the lengthy process his candidates had to face in order to be approved by the Senate.
In contrast, Biden remarked how smooth his cabinet assembly was. However, what Biden failed to acknowledge is that the reason his nominee’s confirmation hearings were not Herculean efforts was because the very Senate Democrats that offered such resistance to President Trump’s cabinet were entirely complicit with the “diversity over all” game plan. In fact, they used that very idea as ammunition against any Republican or Democrat that tried to stand in the way.
For instance, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) turned on fellow Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) after he raised issue with interior secretary nominee Deb Haaland’s obstruction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. She claimed Manchin had a history of supporting racists, but was “uneasy” confirming a Native American woman.
Some Democrats went even further with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) threatening to veto every nominee until the Biden administration picked someone who was an Asian-American or Pacific Islander. After immense backlash from within her party, however, Duckworth changed her tune and said she would update her confirmation standards to vote for a Hispanic, black person, LGBTQ person and an AAPI person.
It appears Democrats did exactly that when they confirmed Xavier Becerra, who is Hispanic, as Health and Human Services secretary despite him having no experience in health policy. Additionally, they confirmed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg who wielded being openly gay as a way to offset his scant resume as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
As Democrats maintain control of the Senate, they got their wish: a cabinet full of diverse secretaries and one nearly devoid of the qualifications necessary to advise the executive branch.
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