On Sunday, it was reported that former vice president Joe Biden had selected Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General to head Health and Human Services (HHS) in his fictitious administration, dealing an epic burn to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who turned down a post for Secretary of the Interior. Now, she appears out of consideration completely.
The New York Times reports:
Joe Biden has selected Xavier Becerra, a former congressman who is now the Democratic attorney general of California, as his nominee for secretary of health and human services, ending a politically delicate search that brought complaints from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about a lack of Latinos in the incoming cabinet.
Mr. Becerra became Mr. Biden’s clear choice only over the last few days, according to people familiar with the transition’s deliberations, and was a surprise. He has carved out a profile more on the issues of criminal justice, immigration and tax policy, and he was long thought to be a candidate for attorney general.
Mr. Biden’s selection of Mr. Becerra comes as the president-elect is under increasing pressure from the Latino community to diversify his cabinet. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico had been thought to be in line for the health secretary’s job, but she apparently fell out of the running. Instead, news leaked last week that Ms. Lujan Grisham was offered, and turned down, the position of interior secretary.
The leak prompted [Rep.] Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico to use a private meeting with top Biden advisers to rebuke the incoming White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, and other senior Biden officials for their treatment of Ms. Lujan Grisham, according to a Democrat familiar with the discussion.
Mr. Luján’s frustration revealed a broader concern that few Latinos have been chosen for high-ranking positions in the Biden administration. Alejandro N. Mayorkas, a Cuban-American and the nominee for secretary of homeland security, has been the only Hispanic selected for a cabinet job.
Lujan Grisham released a statement after the announcement, writing, “As I’ve consistently said, I have the best job in the world as governor of New Mexico.” She added, “I look forward to working with the Biden administration as we tackle the challenges we’re facing here in New Mexico and also across the country; COVID-19, combating climate change, and rebuilding our nation’s economy are just a few of the areas where we need to make significant progress right now.”
As attorney general of California, Becerra has been a rabid anti-life advocate, arguing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, leading unsuccessful assaults on pro-life pregnancy centers and other measures to end human life in the womb at all costs.
Lujan Grisham had Rep. Ben Ray Luján, her alleged cousin, and other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus lobbying the 78-year-old former vice president for the HHS post, but due to Gov. Lujan Grisham’s ungrateful snub of the Department of the Interior role, she will now not be a member of the fictitious administration at all.