- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 28, 2021

Sen. Tammy Duckworth said she’s “profoundly disappointed” President Biden hasn’t chosen a person of Asian American or Pacific Islander descent to fill his Cabinet positions.

The Illinois Democrat, an Army combat veteran of Thai descent, told CBS News in an interview Tuesday that Mr. Biden‘s decision not to appoint a Cabinet secretary who is Asian American or Pacific Islander, or AAPI, signals to the community that they aren’t important.

“Yes, I am profoundly disappointed also that there is not a member of the AAPI community at the Cabinet secretary level,” Ms. Duckworth said. “And I think that for a Cabinet that is so historically diverse, to not have someone of AAPI descent at the Cabinet level is a real missed opportunity.

“I think it sends two messages,” she continued. “One, that you’re not important to us, you’re not diverse enough, you’re not important to us. And the other is that you can be taken for granted.

“AAPIs have 4% of the vote in many, many states — that’s the margin of victory in many, many states … it just says that potentially we’re taking AAPIs for granted,” she added. “And I’m just going to make sure we send a message that we will not take AAPIs for granted. That the AAPI community is just as important to this nation as those of other community groups and that AAPIs are Americans just like everyone else.”



Ms. Duckworth‘s comments came the same day Mr. Biden signed a memorandum condemning racism and xenophobia against AAPIs spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

The senator’s remarks echoed those by Rep. Mark Takano, California Democrat, who said earlier this month he was “profoundly disappointed” that the Biden administration will be the first in 20 years not to have an AAPI leading an executive department. 

“As much as I view myself as a friendly ally of this president, I think he’s erred in [that] he has chosen to exclude Asian Americans from his 15 Cabinet secretaries,” he told PBS.

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