Some Hispanic members of Congress are becoming increasingly testy about what they see as a lack of Latino representation in President-elect Joe Biden’s list of Cabinet and White House nominees, especially after the apparent snubbing of the nation’s only Latina governor for a key post.
During a call between transition leaders and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Thursday, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) confronted incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain and other officials about leaks from Biden’s transition indicating New Mexico Gov. Michele Lujan Grisham had turned down an offer to be secretary of the Department of the Interior.
Klain, appearing on the call with transition co-chairs Ted Kaufman and Jeff Zients, apologized for the leaks, according to a Democrat with knowledge of the call.
The call was part of the rockiest period for Biden’s transition so far, with Black, Asian American and Latino lawmakers pressuring them for further representation while progressives prepared to unleash new waves of criticism at any moment. Although most of Biden’s early picks for key Cabinet slots have been met with praise across the ideological spectrum, competition for the remaining positions is the subject of intense lobbying both behind the scenes and publicly.
“Everybody’s eager to see a Cabinet that reflects America. It would be a huge missed opportunity and disappointment if President Biden failed us in that regard,” Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) said in an interview with HuffPost on Monday.
Gonzalez was one of a host of lawmakers of color voicing concerns about the diversity of Biden’s team in recent weeks, especially after Biden announced his intent to nominate Janet Yellen for treasury secretary and Anthony Blinken for secretary of state, filling two of the so-called “big four” slots in the Cabinet. Yellen and Blinken are white.
Biden’s team nominated Cuban American lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas to head the Department...