President Joe Biden is not yet ready to announce who will be the White House’s senior Asian American Pacific Islander liaison, despite pledging to do so over three weeks ago, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Wednesday.
Psaki, asked flat out if the president had made a selection by CBS’ Weijia Jiang at Wednesday’s briefing, said that the White House “is getting much closer to having news to share on that high level personnel announcement.” (RELATED: Biden Admin Announces A Host Of Moves Designed To Combat Rising Violence Against Asian Americans)
Psaki added that she doesn’t expect “that person” to attend Biden’s Thursday meeting with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and that “hopefully we will have more to share soon.”
Biden pledged to select his AAPI liaison after Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii said in March they would vote against Biden’s slate of nominees to protest the lack of AAPI representation in Biden’s Cabinet and senior staff.
The president has announced a series of executive actions in recent weeks aimed at combating anti-Asian American bias that has surged throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Those actions included:
- Reinstating the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with initial focus on anti-Asian bias and violence
- Providing $49.5 million in Health an Human Services funding for “AAPI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault”
- Forming a COVID-19 Equity Task Force committee to address rising xenophobia against Asian Americans
- Establishing a DOJ cross-agency initiative to combat on anti-Asian violence
- Launching a “new virtual bookshelf of federally-funded projects that explore and celebrate Asian Americans’ contributions to the United States”
- Providing Funding critical research to prevent and address bias and xenophobia against Asian American communities
Violence against Asian Americans have risen by as much as 800 percent throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and while Biden has openly condemned anti-AAPI violence, his administration hasn’t fully confronted alleged anti-Asian discrimination at some of the country’s top universities.
In February, the Justice Department dropped a lawsuit, originally filed by the Trump administration, against Yale University, alleging that the school discriminated against AAPI applicants, a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
You can watch Wednesday’s entire press briefing below.