White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to join some fellow Democrats in accusing Republicans of sexism or racism for their opposition to Neera Tanden’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday.
Some Democrats in Congress and progressive activists have argued that Republicans are only pointing to Tanden’s past offensive statements because she is a woman. A White House reporter gave Psaki the opportunity to join in on the accusation during Monday’s press briefing, but she let the issue and stuck to the White House position that Tanden is simply qualified. (RELATED: Biden’s Response To Russia SolarWinds Hack Coming In ‘Weeks, Not Months’)
“Does the administration believe there is a double standard at play here, that Republicans and perhaps some Democrats are pointing to her partisan tweets, offensive tweets, as a reason to oppose her nomination and that they have not held certain men to the same standard?” a reporter asked.
“The president was proud to nominate a historic set of nominees, many of them were barrier breaking — including Neera Tanden — but also incredibly qualified and experienced,” Psaki responded. “He certainly believes that members of the Senate are going to consider them and will continue to consider them with the best of intention.”
“From here, we’re going to keep our eyes focused on outreach to Democrats and Republicans,” she added.
Several female Biden nominees have been confirmed in the Senate with bipartisan support, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, and Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
“There’s a double standard going on,” Democratic California Rep. Judy Chu argued to Politico on Monday. “Her nomination is very significant for us Asian American and Pacific Islanders. I do believe that this double standard has to do with the fact that she would be a pioneer in that position.”
Tanden faces a narrow path to nomination after Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced he would oppose her nomination, meaning she requires one Republican to support her. Potential allies like Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Maine Sen. Susan Collins have also confirmed they will not support her.
Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has remained silent on the issue, however. Psaki said the White House still expects Tanden to be confirmed Wednesday.