Late last week, President-elect Joe Biden finished naming his final cabinet picks, announcing the members of his economic team. He also pushed for more spending to help the unemployed and small businesses, saying, “Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American owned small businesses, women owned businesses, and finally having equal access to resources needed to reopen and rebuild.”

Video of Biden announcing priorities for government help was posted on Twitter by the Biden-Harris transition team. The response was not good, as the tweet had more than 2.6 thousand retweets and13.6 thousand quote tweets, mostly with negative comments.

Conservatives who haven’t yet been silenced by Twitter pointed out that it’s illegal for the federal government to favor groups based on their ethnicity or sex. Here’s a sampling of responses:

  • Fox News Host Laura Ingraham dubbed it, “Biden’s racial and gender discrimination to supposedly address racial and gender discrimination.”
  • Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher tweeted, “Why not hard-hit, struggling business owners who need assistance, without regard to the color of their skin, gender or ethnic heritage?”
  • Maryland congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik wrote, “This is actual discrimination. The opposite of what my hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, fought & died for in America.
  • Jordan B. Peterson, professor and author, asked, “Why insist upon the racial and ethnic distinctions?”
  • Dave Rubin, Host of The Rubin Report, said, “This is not only systemically racist. It’s against the constitution. Liberalism is being destroyed by the liberals. Exactly what I warned against…”
  • Attorney and Townhall columnist Marina Medvin tweeted, “PSA: Discrimination based on race and sex includes white men and remains unlawful under federal law.”

In addition to announcing his priorities for receiving government aid, Biden announced 24 members of his economic team, including Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo as the next secretary of commerce and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as his secretary of labor. Throughout his campaign, Biden said he would appoint a cabinet “that looks like America.”

In naming these final choices, Biden also emphasized the color, sex, and sexual orientation of his cabinet picks. He said:

This is a cabinet that I promised you and I’ve fulfilled that promise, that looks like America. It taps into the full range of talent we have in our nation. And we have immense talent. It’s an historic cabinet. This’ll be the first cabinet ever that is evenly composed of as many women as men in the cabinet. This will be the first cabinet ever with a majority of people of color occupying this cabinet. And 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. 

In addition to naming his economic team, the President-elect stated that he would push for a relief package that would “be in the trillions of dollars” and finish “the job of getting people that $2,000 in relief direct payment.” This follows a $900 billion package passed and signed into law in December, which included relief payments of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 for couples who make under $150,000 plus an additional $600 per child under the age of 17.

President Trump had also wanted $2,000 stimulus checks and asked congress to eliminate wasteful spending.

Biden cited job losses and business closures as reason for another stimulus, saying:

And in many ways, the jobs report is a pandemic report. With the pandemic raging, people are losing work and losing hope. The hospital industry, restaurants and bars lost more than 372,000 jobs. State and local governments are slashing jobs. 20,000 local educators lost their jobs just last month. …

But today, more than one in four small businesses are not open. At least 400,000 are closed for good. As the month goes by, a third of Black-owned businesses and more than a fifth of Latino-owned businesses and more than a quarter of Native American-owned businesses, have less than one month of reserves to cover expenses.

The President-elect spoke several times about the “pandemic and economic crisis,” but did not mention state governments’ responses to the pandemic, in an effort to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the virus. Those ongoing quarantines and regulations led to the record number of job losses and business shutdowns.

Watch the entire speech or read the transcript.

Related resources and articles:

16 Million Claim Unemployment in Three Weeks, White House Weighs Opening Economy

New $900 Billion Relief Package Provides Direct Payments to Individuals, Families

Staggering Report Released: 6.6 Million Americans Filed for Unemployment Last Week

Trump Calls COVID Stimulus Bill a “Disgrace,” Asks Congress to Amend

Photo from Sipa USA/REUTERS