Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is reportedly looking to reach across the aisle by adding several high-level Republicans to his cabinet should he be elected on Nov. 3.
Choosing a diverse cabinet is in line with Biden’s stated goal to be “a president for all Americans.” He has said many times that the job of the president is “to represent all of us, not just our base or our party.”
In a powerful speech delivered earlier this month in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Biden made it clear: “I am running as a proud Democrat. But I will govern as an American president.”
The decades-long Delaware senator and former vice president’s statements are meant to demonstrate his difference from President Donald Trump, who panders heavily to his Republican base. In fact, a new report from The Washington Post noted that Trump’s bailout of farmers gave $21 billion to “red” counties and only $2.1 billion to “blue” ones.
Biden’s transition team told Politico “diversity of ideology and background is a core value of the transition.”
There is a long history of U.S. presidents having a cabinet that includes members of the opposing party. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all did the same. However, the unity gesture ended with Trump.
Still, amid this climate of potential post-Trump unification, jaded Democrats are worried that adding Republicans to key cabinet positions could alienate more progressive Dems.
“My primary concern is that he involves people in the Cabinet who push back against corporate power and support a massive economic stimulus and the broad provision of health care,” David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, a liberal advocacy group told Politico. “Unfortunately, there are no prominent Republicans I know of who are on board with that agenda.”
Meg Whitman, former CEO of Quibi and eBay, is being considered, as well as former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and both spoke at the Democratic National Convention in August. A selection of former Republican senators’ names have also been mentioned for cabinet slots.
Additionally, several high-level progressive Democrats are being considered, including Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
The Biden transition team has maintained that no decisions are being made until after the election. However, in his Gettysburg speech, Biden reiterated that “what we need in America is leadership that seeks to de-escalate tensions, to open lines of communication, to bring us together, to heal, to hope. As president, that is precisely what I will do.”