Duckworth Gives Ultimatum To Biden Over Absence Of AAPI Representation In Cabinet | Talking Points Memo

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) on Wednesday vowed to oppose President Biden’s future “non-diversity” nominees unless the White House commits to a plan to tap more nominees of Asian or Pacific Islander descent for high-level positions in the administration, according to multiple reports.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Politico reported that Duckworth recalled White House deputy chief of staff […] referring to Vice President Kamala Harris’ South Asian American heritage […], which Duckworth found “incredibly insulting.”

Hmmm …

And not in the TPM article:

“Last night, that was the trigger for me,” Duckworth said. “To be told that, ‘well, you have Kamala Harris, we’re very proud of her, you don’t need anybody else’ is insulting.” Duckworth noted she has heard that sentiment from the administration “multiple times.”


Really, Tammy, that’s what’s got your dander up? Really?


See above.


Is Senator Duckworth volunteering herself for a Cabinet position? (That would take care of the “won’t vote” thingy…) Could work out; the governor is a Democrat. One trusts he wouldn’t try to sell her seat, like a certain other T-pardoned Illinois Democratic governor.


I like Tammy but the time to do this was BEFORE his cabinet members were nominated AND approved. If she thinks Harris’ heritage isn’t worthy then that’s a discussion she can have with VP Harris but this comes across as reactionary and attention grabbing instead of purposeful and thoughtful.


Squaring off against the most representative admin in a long time seems like a silly move.


My question is… should Biden hire based on ethnicity or on skill and ability to do the job which applies to any appointment in the Executive Branch? Does Ms Duckworth have a person in mind or is she looking for publicity?


While I understand the desire for balance and opportunity, quotas are always a risky business to demand. Telling someone that they’re not being considered for a position because they are the “wrong” race or gender or sexual orientation is fairly predictable to see backlash, and eventual selectees who match those characteristics be diminished in their role due to perceptions that they didn’t get there on their merit.


That’s not how Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity hires work. I (and some others on these boards) know how that works: you make sure that your pool of applicants includes representation, you track various metrics regarding competency to do the job, and then–having assured that your pool is equitable–you hire the most competent person from that pool.

If you don’t have a diverse pool of applicants–if you don’t do the work to build diversity into the pool–then you wind up hiring non-diverse people.

It doesn’t happen at the level of the hire. It happens at the level of the preliminary pool.

I am not arguing the strategy/unstrategy of Duckworth’s “demand”. I’m talking about how diversity in search & hiring processes actually works.


Here we fucking go again. Democrats fucking each other. Duckworth is WRONG here and setting a president for others to follow. Hold up the Administration until the first Inuit is appointed. The first descendant of the Incas. The point is to appoint qualified folks no matter their ethnicity. Not just on ethnicity. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised it took this little time for a Democrat to fuck things up.


Where it gets complicated is the whole debate about inherent advantages, particularly of white straight males. The general argument is, not incorrectly so in way too many cases, that falling to give adequate opportunities to marginalized or minority groups leads to the self-licking ice cream cone that maintains the white male hegemony over things.

Not an easy nut to crack.


Good for her.


The point is not strive for diversity alone. It is to strive for excellence and allow diversity into that effort. NO one should be disqualified from review based on ethnic considerations. Nor should ethnic considerations alone be what makes one qualified.


So does she really mean “diversity nominees” or “AAPI nominees”?


Vice-President Twofer?

A while back, there were two competing new TV shows about doctors in San Francisco. Between the 15 top roles combined, there was exactly one half-Asian character. Doctors, in San Francisco.

This doesn’t get fixed without causing a ruckus. And no, you can’t just have VP Harris “check off” three boxes at once.


“I am not going to be voting for any nominees from the White House other than diversity nominees,”

Change the word “diversity” to white, male or straight and you’d have an argument for flat out bigotry.



It’s the basis of Affirmative Action.

The primary beneficiary of this being (not an ethnicity but) women.

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