Backlash Over Biden Cabinet Picks: First Time over 2 Decades No Asians, Pacific Islanders
President-Elect Joe Biden has been rolling out his Cabinet picks ahead of his January 20 inauguration, and at least one community is displeased with the results.
According to Politico’s 2021 Transition Playbook, there has been backlash from the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), which for the first time in more than two decades will not be represented among Biden’s top officials:
APPI lawmakers and outside groups have been warning for weeks that the failure to nominate an Asian American to a secretary slot would be an insult to an important and growing bloc of voters. And more than 100 lawmakers from both chambers signed a letter to Biden late last month arguing that failing to nominate an Asian American secretary amid his quest to build a diverse Cabinet would “send the wrong message that ‘diversity’ does not include AAPIs.”
Some advocates have highlighted AAPI voters’ importance in November’s elections — particularly in helping flip Georgia blue — and warned that a lack of representation could turn some young AAPI voters away from the Democratic Party in the future.
“I feel like our community is being disrespected here,” Shekar Narasimhan, chairman and founder of the AAPI Victory Fund, who has been in close touch with Biden officials for months to try to promote more Asian Americans in top administration jobs, said. “And you’re really missing a big opportunity. Our community is growing. The number of voters is growing.”
Neera Tanden, former head of the left-wing Center for American Progressive, and Katherine Tai are Asian-American and in Cabinet-level roles, but will not lead Cabinet departments, Politico reported.
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