President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met virtually with civil rights leaders who were not necessarily pleased with the president-elect’s appointments to his cabinet to that date.
Biden assured in his victory speech on Nov. 7, promising his administration would “look like America.” The Rev. Al Sharpton, leader of the National People’s Network, said about the meeting, “We want to make sure promises made is promises kept.”
The meeting, described in a press release from the leaders as a discussion on “racial equity, social justice, and increased diversity in the Biden-Harris Cabinet,” included the heads of seven of the nation’s most prominent civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, led by Sharpton. The call was scheduled for one hour but lasted for nearly two.
The group discussed a wide range of topics, from stressing a diverse cabinet to issues that advocates felt should be at the forefront in the Biden administration. Those included civil and voting rights as well as health disparities.
“Their job is to push me,” Biden said in an interview with CNN prior to the meeting. “My job is to keep my commitment and make the decisions.”
Leaders of the civil rights groups spoke positively of the meeting but said their satisfaction ultimately will be determined by the president’s choices.
Johnson told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein that the relationship between the civil rights groups are very different from the relationship these groups had with President Donald Trump.
“We are in a different posture with this administration. It’s not adversarial. It is open for dialog,” Johnson said. “And many of us who walk into the room have prior communications or relationship with the president-elect.”
“I’m not going to tell, you know, exactly what I’m gonna do in any department. But I promise you, it’ll be the single most diverse cabinet based on race, color, based on gender, that’s ever existed in the United States of America,” Biden told reporters last week during a press conference in Wilmington, DE.