US President-elect Joe Biden is forming a diverse White House leadership team. As per details that were shared on the 'Biden-Harris Presidential Transition' Twitter handle, former campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon will serve as a deputy chief of staff, while campaign co-chair Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond and campaign adviser Steve Ricchetti will play senior roles in the new administration.
"Our White House senior staff is composed of individuals who demonstrate the President-elect's commitment to building an administration that looks like America, has expertise in governing, and will be ready deliver results for working families on Day One," the team tweeted sharing a graphic with details about the new appointments.
And while many have lauded the diversity shown in the selection, others have expressed consternation over the appointment of Congressman Cedric Richmond who currently holds the Louisiana congressional seat, which he would vacate to take up the job. The 47-year-old African American will take on a public engagement role in the Biden administration that will allow him to deal with Congress along with a focus on the Black community and other minority groups. A former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Richmond was among Biden's earliest high-profile supporters and served as his campaign co-chair.
His appointment however has been met with criticism and concern from many on Twitter. While some reminded that Richmond has ties to House Republicans, others turned to his environmental track record.
"Cedric Richmond has taken big money from the fossil fuel industry, cozied up w/oil and gas, and stayed silent while polluters poisoned his own community. How will young people and frontline communities trust our voices will be heard louder than Big Oil in a Joe Biden administration?" asked progressive environmental group, Sunrise Movement on Twitter.
"A Biden administration dominated by corporate-friendly insiders Steve Ricchetti and Cedric Richmond will not help the President-elect usher in the most progressive Democratic administration in generations," cautioned Alexandra Rojas the Executive Director of the Justice Democrats.
The problem here is the fact that Richmond has in the past received massive support from those linked to the oil and gas sector. According to reports, he had received over $100,000 in this cycle from such individuals. He was also one of the few Democrats who voted in favour of authorising the Keystone XL pipeline between the US and Canada.
As per a 2019 report by The Guardian: During almost a decade in Congress Richmond has taken over $400,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry and chemical manufacturers, according to an analysis conducted by the non-partisan Centre for Responsive Politics at the request of the Guardian.