The Washington Times Weekly

Biden saves no Cabinet position for Republican­s

- BY HARIS ALIC

President Biden has not named a single Republican to his Cabinet and has stacked his administra­tion with liberal activists, despite a campaign for the White House on a pledge to restore unity and bipartisan­ship in Washington.

It’s also a break with a White House tradition that made his predecesso­rs more bipartisan in filling top administra­tion jobs. Each of the past three presidents had members of the opposing party in either high-ranking White House posts or Cabinet positions.

President Trump named two Democrats, Gary Cohn and Peter Navarro, to his White House staff upon taking office. Mr. Trump also appointed Steve Mnuchin, a Democrat turned Republican, as his Treasury secretary. Mr. Mnuchin was appointed in 2017 just months after he donated to Kamala Harris’ campaign for U.S. Senate.

Presidents Obama and George W. Bush also had at least one or two Cabinet members from the other party.

For Mr. Bush, it was Norman Mineta, a onetime Democratic congressma­n from California, as transporta­tion secretary in his first term. Mr. Obama had two well-known Republican­s in his first-term Cabinet, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transporta­tion Secretary Ray Lahood, a former Republican congressma­n from Illinois. In his second term, Mr. Obama named Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, as defense secretary.

The closest Mr. Biden has come to tapping a member of the opposing party in a top-level post is a rumored decision to appoint to an ambassador­ship Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

The president’s reluctance to embrace bipartisan­ship stands in stark contrast with his comments on the campaign trail last year.

“While I’ll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president,” Mr. Biden said at the time. “I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me. … That’s the job of a president: to represent all of us, not just our base or our party.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the nomination­s.

Mr. Biden continued to forgo bipartisan­ship this week with several nomination­s for high-level law enforcemen­t and national security posts.

Topping the list was Tucson, Arizona, Police Chief Chris Magnus, who is best known for his advocacy for racial justice and immigrant rights, to serve as commission­er of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Chief Magnus first made headlines in 2014 when a photo of him in police uniform holding a Black Lives Matter sign went viral. Since then, he has been a favorite of Democrats for his defense of sanctuary cities and of refusal to cooperate with federal immigratio­n authoritie­s during the Trump era.

Chief Magnus was nominated after Mr. Biden announced that he would name David Chipman to helm the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mr. Chipman, who previously served as an ATF agent, is best known as one of the nation’s leading gun control advocates.

He serves as a senior policy adviser to Giffords, the gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat. In that role, Mr. Chipman has pushed for banning assault weapons and limiting high-capacity magazines.

Neither Mr. Magnus nor Mr. Chipman is likely to receive bipartisan support for confirmati­on. Republican­s consider Mr. Chipman’s views, in particular, unacceptab­le for the leader of the agency responsibl­e for regulating firearms.

“David Chipman is a gun control activist who will weaponize the ATF in his mission to take guns from law-abiding citizens,” said Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican. “The Senate must protect the Second Amendment and reject his nomination.”

These two nomination­s were the latest in a string of overtly political appointmen­ts.

Republican­s also strongly objected to Kristen Clarke, Mr. Biden’s choice to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division. At a confirmati­on hearing Wednesday, Ms. Clarke backed off her previous support for the defund-the-police movement but didn’t convince Republican­s she was not anti-police.

Mr. Biden’s choice of Neera Tanden, another Democratic operative and liberal activist, to run the Office of Management and Budget hit opposition for Democrats and Republican­s over her abusive tweets at politician­s on both sides of the aisle. The nomination was withdrawn.

“Clarke has called for the ‘strategic’ defunding of police and has a background in leading a liberal Washington, D.C. special interest group critical of law enforcemen­t,” a Republican congressio­nal staffer told The Washington Times. “Tanden, on the other hand, was a long-standing Democratic operative, without any experience in budgetary issues, yet the White House wanted her to run one of their largest offices.”

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