New York Correspondent
“At a time when this campaign was at its lowest point, the African American community stood up for me again. You have always defended me and I will defend you ». Joe Biden He spoke these words on November 7 in Wilmington (Delaware), in his victory speech, when all the major media projected him as the winner of the presidential election. It has been almost a month since then, the transition team for his presidency is underway, he has announced dozens of appointments, and many among the black minority believe that he is not complying: they demand that those words become a greater presence of high positions in positions of maximum responsibility.
In that same speech, Biden said that he had delivered on his promise to build a campaign that “represents and looks like America.” And that, once the elections were won, he also wanted that to happen in his Administration.
It is undeniable that Biden seeks to craft a government team with diversity of gender, racial and sexual identity. There are many Hispanic and black names, and His Cabinet aims to be the one with the most women and members of the LGBT community in the country’s history. But the alarms among black congressmen and activists are due to the lower weight that their minority has had in the appointments.
“At the moment it is not going well”
None of the top positions known to date in government has gone to a black person. Neither the secretary of state ( Antony Blink), nor the Secretary of the Treasury (Janet Yellen), nor the secretary of national security (Alejandro Mayorkas, a Hispanic), nor the national intelligence director (April Haines), nor the press secretary (Jen Psaki) belong to that minority. There are also no blacks among the most trusted positions within the White House, such as Chief of Staff (Ron klain) or the national security advisor (Jake Sullivan).
“I want to see how this process ends, what it produces,” he told “The Hill” a few days ago. James Clyburn, the highest-ranking black congressman in the House of Representatives. “So far, it hasn’t gone very well.” Clyburn’s warning carries a lot of weight. He was instrumental in Biden’s victory in the Democratic primary.
As his campaign drifted, with disappointing results in bankrupt coffers in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clyburn supported him shortly before the primary in South Carolina, where the majority of the Democratic electorate is black. Biden won that state and resurrected his campaign. That victory was just what the Democratic establishment needed to take their side, and the rest was history: Biden clearly outplayed his main rival, the leftist. Bernie Sanders.
“I thought that by now I would see more African Americans in the appointments to the highest positions,” protested the congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman this week in “The Washington Post.”
Along with lawmakers, various civil rights organizations have complained that Biden appears to be breaking his promise and that he does not want to meet with them. “Without the support of the black community, I would not have won,” he said. Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, a historic organization for the rights of racial minorities.
The mobilization of the black vote last November was key in Biden’s victory. In 2016, Hillary Clinton Several states – Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania – escaped because a good part of the black vote in the cities stayed at home. Now Biden has gotten it back and prevailed in all those states.
Kamala and little else
It is true that Biden chose a black woman – Kamala Harris– for the first time for the vice presidency and who has made other relevant appointments, such as Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who will be an ambassador to the UN, or Cecilia Rouse, who will be the first black person to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. But the black minority wants more.
One option would be the Department of Defense, where the favorite is a white woman –Michelle Flournoy-, but for which two blacks also sound: Jeh Johnson, a veteran of the Obama Administration, and Lloyd Austin, a retired general. Another important position would be that of attorney general.
The problems for Biden do not end there. Despite the appointment of Mayorkas, Hispanics want more of theirs in his Administration, and the same demand the Asians.