Sens. Duckworth, Hirono Backtrack on Holding Biden Nominees Hostage

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Posted: Mar 24, 2021 10:15 AM
Sens. Duckworth, Hirono Backtrack on Holding Biden Nominees Hostage

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) stirred up the latest Capitol Hill controversy when she told CNN's Manu Raju how she planned to decide on President Biden's nominees. She said she won't even be considering his nominees until he appoints Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to key executive branch roles.

"Until then, I am a no vote on the floor on all non-diversity nominees," she said.

The first nominee to be held hostage, she told Raju, would be one of Biden's Pentagon nominees, Colin Kahl.

While Duckworth said she was moved to hear Biden speak out against the recent string of violence against Asian-Americans, she indicated that White House staff told her to be happy that Kamala Harris is the vice president. Harris has made history as the first female, Black, South Asian American VP.

"When I asked about AAPI representation in the second part, the first words out of the staff's mouth is: 'We're very proud of Vice President Harris, which is incredibly insulting," according to Duckworth.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) signed on to her colleague's pledge.

"I welcome the appointment of a senior level White House liaison to the AAPI community to further strengthen our voice," Hirono tweeted. "I had a productive conversation with the White House today to make clear my perspective about the importance of diversity in the President’s cabinet."

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But both women have since backtracked following heaps of backlash. Now, they're deciding that the best way to vote yes or no on nominees is to consider their qualifications.