Sen. Tammy Duckworth said she won’t be voting for President Joe Biden‘s straight, white nominees any longer, until Asian-Americans are chosen to serve in the upper ranks of his administration like the cabinet.
‘President Biden will be the first president in 20 years without a cabinet secretary who’s AAPI,’ Duckworth told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill, using the acronym for Asian-American and Pacific-Islander. ‘To be told that, well, you have Kamala Harris, we’re very proud of her you don’t need anybody else is insulting,’ the Illinois Democrat added.
Duckworth said she would only be voting for Biden’s ‘diversity nominees,’ which she defined as non-white, as well as members of the LGBTQ community. Later Tuesday, Sen. Mazie Hirono, who’s also of Asian descent, said she agreed with Duckworth’s stance and would also only vote for ‘diversity nominees.’
Sen. Tammy Duckworth said Tuesday that she will no longer vote for any of President Joe Biden’s straight, white nominees until more Asian-Americans are chosen for high-level jobs in the administration
Duckworth applauded President Joe Biden (left) for defending Asian-Americans during an uptick in hate crimes against members of the community, but slammed an administration official for saying Vice President Kamala Harris (right) was enough AAPI representation
Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, said later Tuesday she would join Duckworth and only vote for the Biden administration’s ‘diversity nominees,’ until the White House nominated more Asian-Americans
Duckworth complimented Biden’s response – saying that he’s been ‘caring and thoughtful and humane’ – to what Asian-Americans have gone through, first with the uptick in hate crimes linked to being blamed for the coronavirus pandemic, and then to last week’s Georgia spa shootings, which targeted Asian-American businesses.
Biden has spoken out against Asian-American racism several times and signed an executive order condemning former President Donald Trump’s use of racist terms to refer to the coronavirus.
Duckworth called out Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon for pointing to Vice President Kamala Harris as evidence of enough Asian-American representation
However, an exchange Monday night with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon left a bad taste in Duckworth’s mouth.
‘Last night, that was the trigger for me,’ Duckworth said.
She told reporters that the comment about Harris, who’s half Indian-American, was made by Dillon.
‘But multiple times I’ve heard that. And that is not something you would say to the black caucus – “well, you have Kamala, we’re not going to put any more African-Americans in the cabinet because you have Kamala,”‘ Duckworth said. ‘Why would you say it to AAPI?’
Harris is also half Jamaican-American.
The White House has yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
‘We have the most diverse cabinet in history. We have a lot of Asian-Americans that are in the cabinet and in sub-cabinet levels,’ Biden argued when asked by reporters about the senators’ boycott.
Hirono said she wasn’t ‘offended’ when Dillon brought up Harris’ name.
‘But I joined her in our frustration and disappointment that there is not more AAPI representation in the cabinet, for one thing,’ the Hawaii Democrat added.
Most of Biden’s cabinet jobs are already filled, but Duckworth, a veteran, pointed to positions like deputy secretary of defense and assistant secretary of defense for policy.
The top gig at the Office of Management and Budget also remains vacant after Biden’s initial pick, Center for American Progress think tank leader Neera Tanden’s controversial tweets, cost her too many Senate votes.
Duckworth also said the Federal Communications Commission chair could be Asian-American.
Under former President Donald Trump the job belonged to Ajit Pai, the son of Indian immigrants.
Another Asian-American, Elaine Chao, served as Trump’s transportation secretary.
‘They could make a commitment for a future cabinet secretary, an actual cabinet secretary,’ Duckworth also offered.
Biden vowed to have the most diverse cabinet in history, but no cabinet-level officials are Asian-American.
Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative, is the most senior Asian-American official.