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The New Arab Staff

Joe Biden suffers first cabinet defeat after nominee Neera Tanden withdraws over tweets

Date of publication: 3 March, 2021

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President Joe Biden's pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination.


US President Joe Biden's pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination after she faced opposition from key Democratic and Republican senators for 'hundreds' of controversial tweets she has since removed.

Tanden has also made comments in the past that some considered to be anti-Muslim, and they also cite a 2015 report in which the Centre for American Progress (CAP), under her leadership at the time, removed key sections on Islamophobia and the NYPD.

"Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities," Tanden wrote in a letter to Biden.

Addressing her withdrawal, Biden said in a written statement:

"I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget."

"I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work," he added.

Shadowed by controversy?

Tanden was criticised by some Republicans for personal attacks on Twitter.

"You called Sen. Sanders everything but an ignorant slut," Republican Senator John Kennedy said to her.

She went on to apologise for the hundreds – some reports say a thousand – tweets she deleted, while her supporters argue that her tweets were no worse than those written by leading Republicans – including former US President Donald Trump.

Another controversy related to leaked internal emails from the Democratic thinktank CAP.

In 2015 her staff were instructed to compile a report on Islamophobia.

However the 4,000-word chapter on Islamophobia of the New York Police Department under Mayor Michael Bloomberg was taken out.

According to The New York Times, a senior CAP official wrote then that there would be a "strong reaction from Bloomberg world if we release the report as written."

Bloomberg provided CAP with three grants to the tune of approximately $1.5 million. In 2017 he gave $400,000 more and in 2019 Bloomberg Philanthropies gave between $100,000 to $499,999.

In 2011 Tanden wrote an email to Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir and implied the US should take Libya’s oil in return for costs sustained bombing Libya.

"We have a giant deficit," she allegedly wrote. "They have a lot of oil."

A Huffington Post report claims she succumbed to pressure by AIPAC in 2015 to invite and host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is "looking for that progressive validation, and they’re basically validating a guy who race-baited during his election and has disavowed the two-state solution, which is CAP’s own prior work," an unnamed former CAP staff member at the time.

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