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Kurt Bardella: I Don’t Think Biden Admin Is Willingly, Knowingly Suppressing the Asian American Voices

‘We want to have a voice within the Biden White House to make sure that we’re represented during those broader conversations’
By Grabien Staff

BRZEZINSKI: “Kurt Bardella joins us now with his latest piece for ‘USA Today,’ entitled ‘Duckworth and Hirono are right. Asian Americans deserve more than tokenism from Biden.’ OK. And Kurt a lot of people would say that Joe Biden has a more diverse cabinet than we’ve seen in a long time. But you’re right, there is definitely an area where we could see more representation. How do we get there?”

BARDELLA: “Well, you know, Mika, in the overall conversation about races in America, we all understand that at the root of racism is to suppress communities of color, to suppress our voices, to suppress our access to the corridors of power, and thereby influence our ability to actually impact a national agenda. What the Asian American community is looking for right now, especially in the backdrop of all of the attention that we’ve been receiving due to the rise in violence in hate crimes against the AAPI community overall, we need more than just tokenism. It’s not enough to say, well, we’ll have someone who can be the AAPPI outreach person at the White House. We want someone that’s going to have access. Someone that’s going to be able to influence the broader agenda. Because we all have a stake in the common agenda. Whether it’s gun reform, health care, climate change, education, infrastructure, we care as much about those issues as everybody else does. And we want to have a seat at the table, as those issues are being prioritized and debated and policies are being shaped. And we want to have a voice within the Biden White House to make sure that we’re represented during those broader conversations, not just when it comes to issues that are related specifically to the AAPI community.”

BRZEZINSKI: “I totally agree with everything you’ve said. I agree that there is a void. But I also want to ask you, point-blank, about the first statement you made. Do you think that the Biden administration is willingly, knowingly suppressing?”

BARDELLA: “No, I don’t think they’re willingly, knowingly suppressing the Asian American voices or Asian American community. I think that they could do a better job of having representation. And I think that’s the point that Senators Duckworth and Hirono were making on Tuesday when they were having discussions with the White House about this issue and making the case that there is a better way to have bigger voices for our community and especially at a time where we have been at the forefront of one of the major national narratives that’s unfolding, the lack of Asian American faces and voices is glaring to say the least. And the point that they made — and I think that it was well received, because at the end of the day, they relented on their threat that they wouldn’t vote for any of the non-white Biden nominees that they had said, OK, the White House heard us, we have faith that this president, particularly, understands what we’re saying. This isn’t Donald Trump. This isn’t the Republican Party, this isn’t a party that is built on suppressing minorities, that’s trying to take voting rights away from communities of color. We believe in trust that we can take Joe Biden and his administration at their word when they say, this will be a priority. They will make some changes. They will do better to have more representation for the Asian American community. And nothing that this president has done leads us to believe that we can’t take them at face value. He has been there talking about these issues when they have come up. He doesn’t need to be prompted. He doesn’t need a note card with little talking points written on it to tell him that when violence against Asian Americans happen, he needs to address it as a president. He doesn’t need to be told, he needs to wait days to lower flags at half-staff. So we’re going to take them at face value and take them at their word that they’re going to make good on what he told those senators.”

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