President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress think tank, for director of the Office of Management and Budget has ruffled more than a few feathers. The controversy surrounding Tanden comes after she deleted over 1,000 tweets following the nomination, as well as her behavior during Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) most recent presidential campaign.
Tanden has been an advisor on a number of Democratic presidential campaigns, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She also aided Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential run against Donald Trump.
Her problems with Sen. Sanders arose during his second presidential campaign, during which he accused her of “[calling] for unity while simultaneously misaligning [his] staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas,” in a scathing letter to the Center for American Progress. Shortly thereafter, the New York Times published a piece alleging that she had punched Center for American Progress editor Faiz Shakir in 2008, after he had asked Hillary Clinton an interview question about the Iraq war. This was a soft spot for Hillary and according to the write up, Tanden punched Shakir in the chest following the exchange. Tanden maintains that she pushed him.
Shakir went on to be campaign manager for Sen. Sanders, which is why the recent nomination by President-elect Biden comes as such a shock.
Tanden has also been known to get into fiery debates with Republican elected officials and left-leaning Democrats alike, including some of the very senators from whom she now needs support. She has also deleted over 1,000 tweets, some of which include pointed digs at senators.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans on the Senate floor today, describing negative reactions as “crocodile tears.” Schumer says “the hypocrisy is astounding” in response to Republicans attacking Tanden behind tweets.
Despite the growing criticism, Tanden tweeted on Monday that she is “beyond honored” to be nominated by Biden for the vital role. She continued by saying, “My mother relied on public food and housing programs to get by, now I’m being nominated to help ensure those programs are secure.”