Duckworth: Biden WH told me ‘you have Kamala, you don’t need really any other Asians in the Cabinet’

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., was in the spotlight last week for publicly declaring that she would not vote for any white nominee put forth by President Joe Biden if they did not fall into a “diversity” category of some sort.

The remarkable stance from the senator was reportedly in response to her dissatisfaction with the lack of Asian American representation in the new administration.

Fast forward one week and Duckworth is now plugging her new book, “Every Day is a Gift,” a memoir of the Iraq War veteran’s life, from her childhood in Southeast Asia to losing both her legs in Iraq when her helicopter was shot down, to being elected to the U.S. Senate.

Appearing Monday on “CBS This Morning,” Duckworth was asked by co-anchor Gayle King about a moment with the Biden administration where the lawmaker said she was offended by something they said about Vice President Kamala Harris — King was not asking her about her own racist remark, mind you.

“Well, you know, I was pushing for more representation at the highest levels of the Biden administration,” Duckworth replied. “I love Kamala, she’s my girlfriend, you know, we were freshmen in the Senate together. I’ve spoken with her. They actually — the folks in the administration actually brought up her name and said, well, you have Kamala, you don’t need really any other Asians in the Cabinet.”

(Video: CBS)

“And I thought, wow, that’s really offensive,” she continued. “You wouldn’t say we have a white male president, there shouldn’t be any more white male members of the Cabinet. Why would you say that to someone from the Asian community?”

The Democrat explained that the Biden administration has assured her that an Asian American and Pacific Islander person would be appointed to a senior staff position — we can only hope that qualifications rank up there with ethnicity.

Duckworth didn’t name who it was in the administration who said there was no real need for other Asians in the Cabinet, which you might think would have been the very next question from CBS.

You’d be wrong, of course. There was no intellectual curiosity about who this official might be.

It was after that experience with the Biden White House that Duckworth essentially ruled out white males while talking to reporters.

“There’s no AAPI representation in the Cabinet,” she said. “There’s not a single AAPI in a Cabinet position. That’s not acceptable. That’s what I told the White House. I’ve been talking to them for months, and they’re still not aggressive.”

“So I’m not going to be voting for any nominee from the White House other than diversity nominees,” she said, “I’ll be a ‘no’ on everyone until they figure this out.”

Interestingly, Duckworth did not rule out running for president in a recent interview with USA Today.

“Maybe if it’s good for the country,” Duckworth said of a possible White House run.

“I think about growing up in Southeast Asia post-Vietnam; everybody wanted to be us. We had these ideals; we had these values, and you could achieve the American dream. I would want to try to get us back to them. We’re not there now,” Duckworth said.

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Tom Tillison

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