President-elect Joe Biden said he spoke with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about becoming labor secretary and that they jointly concurred that Sanders should remain in the Senate, citing a slim majority from the Georgia runoff elections.
“I did give serious consideration of nominating my friend Bernie Sanders to this position,” Biden said from Wilmington, Del., formally announcing that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh would take the helm of the Labor Department on Jan. 20.
“I'm confident he could have done a fantastic job,” Biden said about Sanders. “I can think of no more passionate ally to working people in this country, but after Tuesday's results in Georgia, giving Democratic control to the United States Senate and a tie vote, Bernie and I agreed—as a matter of fact Bernie said we can't put control of the Senate at risk on the outcome of a special election in Vermont. He agreed we couldn't take that chance.”
Many progressives had urged Biden to select a leftist to fill that particular cabinet post. Sanders, whose agenda is heavily centered around labor issues, previously said that he would accept the role if offered. Throughout his transition, Biden rarely confirmed the names of finalists on his shortlists, making the acknowledgment of Sanders distinct.
He also revealed that he expects to tap into Sanders for partnership down the road: “We also discussed how we would work together, travel the country together, helping Marty, meeting with working men and women who feel forgotten, left behind in this economy,” Biden said. “We agreed we'll work closely on our shared agenda, on increasing working power to protect the dignity of work.”
As the president-elect finalized his cabinet selections, he lauded the diversity of his nominees, adhering to a campaign pledge to staff the administration in a way that accurately depicts the country’s broad makeup.
“This is a cabinet that I promised you and I fulfilled that promise, it looks like America,” Biden said. “This will be the first cabinet ever that is evenly composed of women as men in the cabinet. The first cabinet ever where [there are a] majority of people of color occupying this cabinet. It has more than a dozen history-making appointments, including the first woman secretary of Treasury, first African-American defense secretary, the first openly gay cabinet member, and the first Native American cabinet secretary.”
The concluding nominees come after President Donald Trump finally conceded the presidential election to Biden after months of calling the results fraudulent.