Senator Tammy Duckworth told reporters at the Capitol she would be a ‘no’ vote until the Biden administration made such appointments or committed to naming an Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) candidate to a cabinet position.
“They can call me and tell me what the proposal is (for such nominations),” Duckworth, who is Thai-American, said. “But until then, I am a no vote on the floor, on all non-diversity nominees.”
Members of the AAPI community have reported a spike in hate crimes since March 2020, when then-President Donald Trump began referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus.”
Concern about the issue intensified this month after six Asian-American women were among eight people killed in a shooting in Atlanta.
Kahl, who served as national security adviser to Democrat Biden when he was vice president, is a prime target of Republicans aiming to torpedo several Biden picks over their social media activity.
Critics accused Kahl of making comments on Twitter that were too partisan.
Neera Tanden withdrew from consideration this month as Biden’s nominee for Office of Management and Budget director after criticism over previous social media posts. She would have been the first Indian-American woman in the position.
Democrats have repudiated such concerns from Republicans, noting party members’ loyalty to Trump, who used his Twitter feed to insult political opponents.
However, with the Senate evenly divided and Vice President Kamala Harris able to break a tie, any nominee would need the support of every Democrat to be confirmed.
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