Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says Joe Biden's cabinet is lacking in 'cohesive vision' as she questions his 'agenda'
The firebrand progressive leader told reporters that the agenda was not clear even as former veep picked a number of faces that served in the Barack Obama era
New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the prominent faces of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, is not happy with the cabinet that President-elect Joe Biden has picked over the recent weeks. AOC feels the new cabinet lacks a “cohesive vision” even as Biden chose more people on Thursday, December 10, including former UN ambassador Susan Rice to lead the White House Domestic Policy Council. The holder of this position doesn’t require confirmation by the Senate. Rice had served as national security adviser to former president Barack Obama.
According to Politico Playbook, AOC on Wednesday, December 9, spoke to reporters while taking a dig at Biden: “What is the agenda? What is the overall vision going to be?” She then added that things were “a little hazy”. On Thursday, December 10 morning, Biden's transition team announced that Rice would become the director of the Domestic Policy Council.
While Biden has cautioned a few days ago that his administration will not be the “third term” of Obama, he has roped in a number of faces from the former president’s team to fill up his own Cabinet’s ranks. Among other Obama-time picks are Tom Vilsack as the agriculture secretary, a position in which he had served on both terms of the former president. Denis McDonough, Obama’s final White House chief of staff, was selected as the secretary of veterans affairs.
The selection of older and moderate faces has not impressed the progressive camp of the party and AOC’s words made it evident. “I think it's be great to see a more cohesive vision across the entire cabinet,” the 31-year-old told the reporters. “You have an individual appointment here, an individual appointment there,” she added.
AOC: 'Are they bold enough?'
“We can wrestle about whether they are bold enough or ambitious enough, especially given the uncertainty and what kind of Senate we're going to have,” she said, adding that she wanted to know the “overall message” from the entire Biden cabinet put together. The self-proclaimed Socialist leader, who won her re-election bid last November, also took an indirect dig at Biden asking what’s the agenda “because we have a person who has a more conservative history, that's one thing”.
“What is the mission that they are being given in their individual agency, whether it's Transportation, Defense, OMB, etc.? What is the mandate here?” AOC asked. “And, yeah, I just think that's something that we're looking to see is, it's something that I hope will be pushed.”
In October, AOC, along with other members of the ‘Squad’ and progressives unveiled a 2021 agenda to put pressure on Biden on how to deal with issues like coronavirus aid, economic relief and other things next year. AOC herself endorsed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary but it was Biden who eventually won the race and the presidency.
Meanwhile, the Biden transition team said that the president-elect is putting in place a team of qualified and competent leaders to rectify things and advance his own bold agenda. “Amid the crises facing the country, President-Elect Biden is building a team of qualified and competent leaders to get things back on track and advance his bold agenda to build back better," Biden transition spokesman Sean Savett said in a statement to The Hill.
"Each of these nominees are forward-thinking, crisis-tested and experienced, and they are ready to quickly use the levers of government to make meaningful differences in the lives of Americans and help govern on day one," he added.