Update: Duckworth and Hirono have backed off on their threats.
Two Democratic senators, Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono, are threatening to vote against Joe Biden’s nominees that are not minorities.
Duckworth and Hirono are upset about the cabinet’s lack of Asian representation, threatening to vote no to any candidates that are white men.
They will be opposing non-minority candidates Biden brings forth until the White House makes an effort to increase Asian American representation.
A top White House official stated that Kamala Harris’ South Asian roots are sufficient enough when it comes to the diversity of the administration. Duckworth found these comments “incredibly insulting.”
“To be told that you have Kamala Harris, we are very proud of her, you don’t need anybody else, is insulting,” said Duckworth to CNN.
“That’s not something you would say to the Black caucus — that you have Kamala — we’re not going to be putting any African Americans in the Cabinet — why would you say that to AAPIs,” continued Duckworth.
Two no votes could jeopardize Biden’s selections, especially if all Republicans decide to vote no in the evenly split Senate.
Duckworth told CNN that she will be voting no on all of Biden’s nominees until Biden makes a commitment to increasing the representation of Asian American and Pacific Islanders within the cabinet.
“President Biden will be the first President in 20 years without a Cabinet secretary who is AAPI,” said Duckworth.
It means that we would like to have a commitment from the White House that there’ll be more diversity representation in the Cabinet, and in senior White House positions,” said Hirono. “And until that happens, we will be able to join her in voting no on non-diversity nominees. I think that is a reasonable position.”
“We have the most diverse Cabinet in history,” said Biden, defending his cabinet selections. “We have a lot of Asian Americans who are in the Cabinet and sub-Cabinet level. Our Cabinet is formed.”