CAPAC Warns: Not Naming an AAPI to the Cabinet at the Secretary-level is “Unacceptable”

Dec 11, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) urged President-Elect Biden to nominate an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) to fill one of the remaining Secretary-level positions in his Cabinet. If this does not happen, it will be the first time in over two decades that there is no AAPI Cabinet Secretary serving in a presidential administration. CAPAC Members released the following statement:  

“AAPIs are the fastest growing racial population in the country and came out in record numbers to elect Joe Biden to be our next President of the United States. And yet, for the first time in over two decades, we are facing the possibility that there might not be a single AAPI Cabinet Secretary in a presidential administration. Let us be clear: that outcome is unacceptable.

“President-elect Biden promised to build an inclusive government that reflects the diversity of our nation. To not include an AAPI official as a Cabinet Secretary overseeing a federal department would send the wrong message that AAPIs do not need to be included. We already see the exclusion of AAPIs in critical policy conversations regarding the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, immigration, and racial justice that often overlook our community due to the harmful ‘model minority’ stereotype that paints AAPIs as a monolithic group.

“The only way to ensure our needs are being included in these discussions is for AAPIs to have a seat at the table at all levels, including as Cabinet Secretaries. Ever since President Clinton appointed Secretary Norman Mineta – our first CAPAC Chairman and one of the founding members of our caucus – to serve as a Cabinet Secretary, there has always been at least one AAPI Cabinet Secretary under both Democratic and Republican administrations. President Barack Obama had a record three AAPI Cabinet Secretaries, President George W. Bush had two AAPI Cabinet Secretaries, and even President Donald Trump has one AAPI Cabinet Secretary. If we do not have an AAPI Cabinet Secretary in the Biden Administration, it will undermine the historic progress that AAPIs have made over the past 20 years. The millions of AAPIs who came out to vote for a President who promised to see them and hear them, and who promised to unite us, are watching.”