By Kate Sullivan, CNN
Updated: Fri, 04 Dec 2020 02:37:28 GMT
Joe Biden said Thursday he would keep his commitment to nominate a Cabinet that reflects America's diversity, as the President-elect faces increasing pressure to appoint Black and Latino nominees to remaining high-level Cabinet positions.
"I'm going to keep my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going to look like the country," Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper in a joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The President-elect noted the group of nominees he has named so far constitutes "the most diverse Cabinet anyone in American history has ever announced." Harris will also make history as the first woman, first Black person and first person of South Asian descent to become Vice President.
Biden said he had a meeting scheduled with the NAACP on Tuesday. NAACP President Derrick Johnson told CNN Wednesday that his organization and other civil rights groups had requested time with Biden and Harris to discuss the incoming administration and ensuring minority and civil rights representation in their agenda.
"Their job is to push me," Biden said, noting every advocacy group is "pushing for more and more and more of what they want. That's their job."
"My job is to keep my commitment to make the decisions," Biden said. "And when it's all over people will take a look and say, I promise you, you'll see the most diverse Cabinet representative of all folks, Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ, across the board."
Biden said the rest of his Cabinet nominees would be announced "in the next month or so."
Biden has so far named four people with diverse backgrounds to his Cabinet: UN Ambassador nominee Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Black woman; Secretary of Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban American man who would be the first Latino to serve in the position if confirmed by the Senate; Neera Tanden, who is the first woman of color and first South Asian person nominated to lead the Office of Management and Budget; and Cecilia Rouse, who will be the first woman of color nominated to serve as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, a position Biden said last week he would elevate to the Cabinet level.
Biden has also announced several other historic firsts to other positions in his administration, including Wally Adeyemo, who would be the first Black person to serve as Treasury deputy secretary.
But some elected officials, activists and civil rights groups have lamented Biden has not done enough to diversify his Cabinet.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have requested Biden appoint either California Attorney General Xavier Becerra or Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez to serve as the US attorney general. Members of the CHC are also lobbying for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to be nominated for the role of health and human services secretary.
South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, an influential member of Democratic leadership, has said that Biden team needs to continue appointing more Black men and women to top administration posts. Clyburn's endorsement helped Biden win the South Carolina primary, which revived his campaign and put him on the path to win the Democratic nomination.
Clyburn said Wednesday, "I can think of at least 10 Black folks that qualify for every single one," of the Cabinet nominees Biden has named. Clyburn has been pushing for Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge to lead the Department of Agriculture.