Biden budget pick Neera Tanden apologizes for past tweets criticizing Republicans

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Biden’s nominee to lead Office of Management and Budget Neeran Tanden (Image Source: Twitter/Harini Joyful Warrior Krishnan)

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget Neera Tanden during her first confirmation hearing on Tuesday apologized for her past tweets and criticism  that were directed at congressional Republicans. 

Sen Rob Portman (R-Ohio) read out loud the list of tweets made by Tanden where she referred to Sen Susan Collins (R-Maine) as “the worst,” called Sen Tom Cotton (R-Ark) “a fraud,” stated that “vampires have more heart” than SenTed Cruz (R-Texas), and compared then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to Voldemort (villain of Harry Potter series).

Portman asked Tanden at the Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing if she could actually be bipartisan given her track record, referring to her past comments. Portment said: “I believe that the tone, the content and the aggressive partisanship of some of your public statements have added to the troubling trend of more incivility in our public life.”

Tanden said: “I deeply regret and apologize for my language and some of my past language.” She said that she understands the concern and takes responsibility for her language. “Over the last few years, it’s been part of my role to be an impassioned advocate. I understand, though, that the role of OMB director calls for bipartisan action, as well as a nonpartisan adherence to facts and evidence,” she said.

Portman also questioned Tanden about deleting several of her tweets before her confirmation hearing and why she had done it. However, Tanden stated that she had deleted the tweets over many months. She said: “I deleted tweets because I regretted my tone, and I’ve deleted tweets over many months. For those concerned about my rhetoric and my language, I am sorry and I am sorry for any hurt that they have caused.” 

Tanden also highlighted that despite the rhetoric, she had worked with right-leaning think tanks in the past. She also promised that if confirmed, she will vigorously work towards serving all Americans in every corner of the country, regardless of the party. 

On Wednesday, Tanden during her additional confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee was criticized and questioned again about her social media history. 

Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders said: “Your [Tanden] attacks were not just made against Republicans. There were vicious attacks against progressives, people who I have worked with — me personally.” Tanden replied that she feels badly about it and her approach will be radically different. Sanders and Tanden have clashed several times in the past.

House lawmakers wrote: “It is important that the OMB Director can lead this large office with sound judgment and bipartisan civility. Unfortunately, Ms Tanden’s past conduct… raises questions about whether she would be able to provide such leadership.”

During former President Barack Obama, Tanden was a Senior Adviser for Health Reform at the US Department of Health and Human Services and is a long-time aide to the former secretary of state and the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. 

Also Read: Confirmation hearing for Biden budget pick Neera Tanden on Feb 9

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