In the News
Salon: Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley plotted to block Biden’s Cabinet nominees — but the scheme backfired
Former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies sought to derail President Joe Biden’s first 75 days in office by obstructing his transition and Cabinet selections. But their efforts appear to have backfired after the Senate confirmed all of Biden’s picks for the 15 traditional Cabinet positions — and with more bipartisan support than Trump’s nominees received.
Biden’s first 12 picks were confirmed by an average of nearly 61 votes, three more than the average Trump nominee even though Republicans had a four-vote advantage in the Senate in 2017, according to a new report from the Accountable.US Senate War Room, a left-leaning government watchdog group that tracks Republican obstruction.
“Senate Republicans spent months lobbing one bad faith attack after another against Biden’s slate of qualified nominees,” Mairead Lynn, a spokesperson for the group, said in a statement. “They gave it their best shot, but ultimately failed to do anything more than delay the inevitable bipartisan confirmation of Biden’s Cabinet secretaries, and were left with nothing to show for their months of delays.”
Despite the Republican complaints, Trump had hearings for 12 of his Cabinet selections before his inauguration, according to the Accountable.US report, while Biden had just four. “The delay of President Biden’s Cabinet was particularly egregious given the national security concerns stemming from the deadly insurrection that President Trump and some Republicans in the Senate helped incite on January 6,” the report argued, echoing past statements by Republicans. Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, warned in 2017 that it was imperative to confirm Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the “safety of our communities.” The Senate did not confirm Attorney General Merrick Garland until March 10, nearly two months after Biden’s inauguration and more than a month later than Sessions’ confirmation in 2017.
Republicans also drew allegations of hypocrisy in their opposition to Tanden over combative tweets aimed at senators after defending Trump’s hostile tweets for years before he was finally banned by the social network and ignoring antagonistic tweets from his Cabinet nominees. Accountable.US argued that the Republican opposition to Tanden, Becerra, Haaland and Mayorkas underscored a “troubling pattern around the treatment of Biden’s nominees of color.” The Accountable.US report noted that Republican statements regarding Biden’s nominees of color tended to use “harsher” language than ones about his white nominees, using terms like “radical” and “dangerous.”