I find myself asking, yet again, why are we in a perpetual state of vexation with Republicans? Trump said abominable, tasteless comments for over four years – including inappropriate tweets – and, naturally, they said nothing. Now Neera Tanden, a career government official, faces the possibility of not being confirmed because she sent out some questionable tweets?
What were these tweets, anyway?
In her tweets, Tanden compared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) to Voldemort, said that vampires had more heart than Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), called Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) “the worst,” and referred to then-Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) as “criminally ignorant.” (Elis, The Hill)
Now, I might be subjective when I say this, but aren’t these accusations valid? Look at what Cruz did last week – taking a flight to Cancun while people in his state were without electricity and water. That seems just a tad heartless, doesn’t it? As far as Collins: well, she hasn’t exactly been a triumph for her constituents. I think we can all recall Trump and the cronies saying a few sordid things about Democratic senators throughout the years.
What about the Trump tweets? Here are three examples from Sky.news:
He called London Mayor Sadiq Khan a “stone cold loser”.
.@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly “nasty” to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2019
In 2018 there was this bizarre tweet about a fight with Joe Biden.
Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
He called Stormy Daniels a “horseface” and a “total con” over claims she had an affair with him.
“Federal Judge throws out Stormy Danials lawsuit versus Trump. Trump is entitled to full legal fees.” @FoxNews Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
Let me get this straight: we allowed the President of the United States to send these tweets out, but Tanden, who is being nominated for Director of Budget and Management, can’t say that Ted Cruz is heartless? Come on. This also seems to represent a new issue, which has emerged with the advent of social media. Why is it even tolerable for politicians to post anything on social media, unless it’s “appropriate” and “formal”? If we are going to use social media as the measuring stick for serving in government, why isn’t it ceremoniously announced as the guideline? Even before Trump was President, he had more than a few awful tweets about politicians. Seems like a double standard to me.
The other issue: Democrats apologize, while Republicans either claim denial or, in Trump’s case, just flat out get away with it. I also find it reasonably groundless to use social media comments as the basis for why somebody would not be fit to carry out the job. I mean, we let Trump be President. I speculate, but also know why, Manchin, Collins, and others are not attempting to judge Tanden on her record, but rather on the social media postings. Are we to say, now, that those serving in the government will only be evaluated on whether they said anything controversial on a social media platform? In this case, Josh Hawley, can you please go ahead and resign? (and take Ron Johnson and Jim Jordan with you).
In an article by Kimmy Yam, titled, “Biden nominee Neera Tanden describes double standards she’s faced as a woman of color,” it seems like it’s more than just the social media postings keeping Tanden from getting the nomination.
Tanden, the most senior-level staffer in the room, said she wasn’t necessarily treated as such. It was particularly apparent in comparison to the treatment of her deputy, a white man, who was roughly a decade younger, “very accomplished,” yet still her junior.
When I spoke, everyone looked at my deputy for assurance of what I was saying. Someone actually checked in with him verbally and said, ‘Does that makes sense to you?’” Tanden, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, told NBC Asian America. “It was really frustrating. You know it’s just because it was not their perception that an Asian woman would be the leader of this meeting.
It always seems suspect to me that Republicans – in most cases, specifically men – can always seem to discredit career officials, especially women. In my assessment, the party is so racist and stuck in some reality of deceitfulness, they will do anything to try and disrupt positive and necessary change.
Such criticism is familiar to the nominee, she says. Tanden says she has frequently been described as “aggressive,” a term that she said she feels assigned to her because of the current racial environment. The collision of racial and gender stereotypes have, in part, likely skewed the image some have of her conduct in professional environments, she said.
Asian Americans, while most likely to be hired in technical roles, were found to be least likely to be promoted, according to research examining Silicon Valley. Asian women face the added stereotypes as being quiet, subservient and compliant. And thus, the data revealed Asian women are the least represented as executives, relative to their percentage in the workforce.
People’s perceptions of leadership and who leaders are has not been, to this moment, an Asian American woman. And that means that I have to do more work than maybe others have had to communicate my leadership and what I bring to the table,” Tanden explained.
It’s hard to establish what the answer to all of this is. Republican constituents are so blatantly racist and sexist, that it fundamentally radiates their ideology. And the politicians won’t turn on their base – after all these are the same group of people who made sure Hilary Clinton couldn’t be elected. How is it suitable – even in 2021 – that we have not provided equality to women, particularly Asian women? Tanden’s revelation is palpable. Asian women are the least represented as executives. Sickening.
The only way to confront the issue is to tackle it head-on by making sure voters are properly electing candidates who represent logical American morals. If we keep electing outrageous politicians in predominately “Republican” districts, we won’t move forward. If we just merely say as Democrats: “We have no chance to change it” (because it’s a red state), we can’t properly progress forward. Republicans are already determined to conduct massive gerrymandering, and they want to prove the last election (the safest election in history) was fraudulent. They believe this is the only reason they lost.
It’s an unnerving road forward for the country, especially Democrats, but it can be done with an unyielding focus on community outreach, and by showing these parochial Republicans the majority of Americans want to achieve the next path forward: a path of equality and decency.
1. Yam, Kimmy. “Biden nominee Neera Tanden describes double standards she’s faced as a woman of color.” NBC Asian America. February 10, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/biden-nominee-neera-tanden-describes-double-standards-she-s-faced-n1257341. Accessed February 22, 2021.
2. Elis, Niv. “Manchin to oppose Biden’s pick of Nerra Tanden.” The Hill. February 19, 2021. https://thehill.com/policy/finance/539648-manchin-to-oppose-bidens-pick-of-nera-tanden?rl=1. Accessed February 22, 2021.
3. “U.S. Election: Donald Trump’s 45 most controversial tweets.” https://news.sky.com/story/us-election-donald-trumps-45-most-controversial-tweets-12098204. Accessed February 22, 2021.