Democrats weaponize identity politics to shield vulnerable Biden nominees

Tammy Bruce: Left is playing ‘identity politics’ with Neera Tanden confirmation process

Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce weighs in on the Senate confirmation process for Biden’s OMB director nominee.

Prominent Democrats in Washington are weaponizing identity politics to defend some of President Biden’s most controversial Cabinet nominees from criticism. 

Neera Tanden, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M. and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra have all faced intense scrutiny for their policy positions and public statements, but some Democrats are suggesting that the nominees’ critics are motivated by prejudice. 

During Becerra’s second confirmation hearing to become secretary of Health and Human Services on Wednesday, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., suggested that Becerra was “being held to a much different standard than some of the nominees” confirmed by the Senate during President Donald Trump’s administration.

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“Becerra and I, throughout our careers, have too often been the only Latinos in the room,” the California senator went on to say. “Sadly Xavier and I are not unfamiliar with being held to different standards.”

Republicans have pointed to Becerra’s lack of experience in health care, as well as his left-wing stance on abortion, as cause for concern. Becerra’s record on religious liberty issues and coronavirus restrictions also emerged as points of contention. 

Neera Tanden — Biden’s pick to run the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) — has seen bipartisan opposition to her nomination due in part to her history of tweeting inflammatory attacks towards senators from both parties. Tanden has since apologized for the tweets and deleted many of them.

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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. — an important swing vote in the 50-50 Senate — has said that he will vote against Tanden’s confirmation, arguing her tweets and public statements would have a “toxic and detrimental impact” on the relationship between OMB and Congress.  

Other moderate senators soon followed suit in pulling their support for Tanden’s nomination, including Susan Collins, R-Maine, Rob Portman R-Ohio, Mitt Romney, R-Utah and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

Democrats similarly argued that Tanden has been held to a higher standard than Trump nominees. Rep. Grace Meng, D. N.Y, told Politico that there was “this pattern that is happening and increasingly hard to ignore.”

“We can disagree with her tweets, but in the past, Trump nominees that they’ve confirmed and supported had much more serious issues and conflicts than just something that was written on Twitter,” she said. “This is not just about any one nominee like Neera, or whoever else — it’s just about this pattern that is happening and increasingly hard to ignore.”

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., also said she believed there was a double standard towards Tanden and that the double standard was because Tanden “would be a pioneer in that position.”

“There’s a double standard going on,” Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., told Politico. “Her nomination is very significant for us Asian American and Pacific Islanders. I do believe that this double standard has to do with the fact that she would be a pioneer in that position.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., wrote on Twitter that it’s “a shame” he can’t “tell little girls of South Asian descent that they’ll have the same opportunities in life as white men” because of “what’s happening to [Tanden].”

Democrats have launched a “full-scale effort” to secure the needed votes to confirm Tanden. It is yet to be seen whether or not Democrats will succeed in winning over a Republican senator to help pull Tanden’s nomination across the finish line.

Supporters of Haaland, Biden’s Interior secretary nominee, have also suggested that personal prejudice is to blame for hesitance from senators to confirm her. Republicans have expressed conern about Haaland’s views on fracking and drilling on public lands.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., invoked Haaland’s Native American heritage on Monday in a tweet criticizing Manchin for his hesitance to confirm Haaland. 

Manchin said in a statement Wednesday that he intends to vote for Haaland after remaining on the fence, likely clearing the way for her confirmation. 

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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., echoed Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet Wednesday, pointing out that Tanden, Haaland and Becerra “all happen to be people of color.”

Jeffries asked if it was a “coincidence” that all three “are being targeted by some in the Senate for their ‘radical views.'” 

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