Tanden confirmation hit from left and right

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President-Elect Biden’s pick for Director of the Office of Management and Budget Neera Tanden. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter
syoes@afro.com

Neera Tanden, President-Elect Joe Biden’s pick to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would be the first woman of color and first Indian-American woman to lead that office.

But, her nomination is being dogged by politicians on the right and the Left because of Tanden’s alleged propensity of delivering “mean Tweets.” Tanden, 50, who is currently the president of the Center for American Progress (CAP) think tank was officially nominated to lead OMB earlier this week and the announcement was immediately derided by several Republican members of the Senate.

On Nov. 30, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said of Biden’s choice for OMB, “worst nominee so far.”

“Her combative and insulting comments about many members of the Senate, mainly on our side of the aisle, certainly create a problematic path,” added Cornyn, who was targeted by Tanden in a Tweet in June 2019, according to various reports.

“Can people on here please focus their ire on (Senate Majority Leader) McConnell and the GOP senators who are up this cycle who enable him,” she wrote, subsequently naming Cornyn and several of his Republican Senate colleagues as McConnell’s “enablers.” Tanden has also referred to McConnell as “Moscow Mitch,” via Twitter, a derisive handle that allegedly annoys the Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky deeply.

However, it’s hard to escape the irony and perhaps hypocrisy of Republicans scoffing at the nomination of Tanden because of Tweets they deem offensive given the similar activity of the current occupant of the Oval Office. Tanden has allegedly deleted approximately 1,000 Tweets since President-Elect Biden named her as her nominee to lead OMB.

Biden has publicly doubled down on his support for Tanden, specifically over the mean Tweets controversy.

“That disqualifies almost every Republican senator and 90% of the administration,” said Biden in an interview with the New York Times on Dec. 2. “But by the way, she’s smart as hell. Yeah, I think they’re going to pick a couple of people just to fight over no matter what.”

Yet, Tanden’s nomination is also taking fire from the political Left. “It’s an odd choice for Biden and his healing presidency to bring someone in who is so combative, especially on Twitter, being that we just ended a four-year Twitter presidency,” Josh Fox, a climate activist and a surrogate for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, told the Beast this week. “She causes ire unnecessarily.”

Tanden, who was a policy aide and continues to be a fierce supporter for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; has also been very critical of Sanders, who engaged in a bitter battle for the Democratic presidential nomination against Clinton in 2016.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York said this week that he wants hearings for President-elect Biden’s Cabinet nominees to begin in early January, after the Senate run-off elections in Georgia are completed.