The Biden administration appears to be trying to check off as many diversity boxes as they can. Especially after Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Mazie Hirono threatened to block any of the president's nominees until he appoint Asian American and Pacific Islanders to more senior roles in the White House.
AAPI groups have also demanded more representation in Washington. A reporter pressed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about those demands at Tuesday's press conference. Psaki said she spoke with Sen. Duckworth and committed to naming a "high level" Asian-American to a position at the White House. That individual will be a commissioned offer and working on policy and outreach. Psaki said she'll reveal the name in the coming days.
Pradheep J. Shanker, a radiologist who focuses on health policy and often contributes to conservative outlets, was outraged by the obvious "token" hiring by the administration.
"Aren't we Asian Americans better than a community than this?" he asked. He called the Biden administration's actions "pure racism and bigotry."
This is literally a 'token' hiring.— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) March 30, 2021
This is pathetic. Aren't we Asian Americans better than a community than this?
This is pure and pure racism and bigotry, in name to achieve political goals. Nothing more. https://t.co/uy80CHjJ1D
After backlash, both Sens. Duckworth and Hirono backtracked on their demands for diversity candidates.
"Based on the private conversation we had, I will continue voting to confirm the historic and highly qualified nominees President Biden has appointed to serve in his administration," Hirono tweeted on March 23.
The media has reported on the increase in violence against Asian-Americans across the country. Last week, President Biden announced he'd be launching a Department of Justice initiative to address anti-Asian hate crimes.