Crusader Staff Report
New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond, who once served as the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, will be President-elect Joe Biden’s director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Richmond, 47, made the announcement last week after spending the last decade in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2nd District in Louisiana. His district represents most of New Orleans, the River Parishes, and large parts of Baton Rouge. He was just re-elected in a landslide to a sixth congressional term.
On November 16, Richmond made the announcement in his home district.
Richmond said he can do more for Louisiana residents in fighting poverty, poor healthcare service and ineffective educational policies. Richmond reportedly will be one of the most senior Black officials in the Biden administration.
“This is a sad day for me to announce that I am leaving something that I fought so hard to get, to say that I’m leaving something that means so much to me,” Richmond said. “This new role will allow me to offer advice to the president when he wants it, maybe sometimes when he doesn’t want it.”
Biden also tapped Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a former assistant secretary of state and longtime diplomat, as ambassador to the United Nations, In a live-streamed event in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden made the announcement about Thomas Greenfield, along with several other members of his cabinet.
Thomas-Greenfield was U.S. ambassador to Liberia from 2008 to 2012, and has also served in numerous other posts around the world, from Kenya to Pakistan.
She was the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa under President Obama from 2013 to 2017 and later joined former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s global strategy company, Albright Stonebridge Group.
Born in Baker, Louisiana, Thomas-Greenfield in the early 1950s attended segregated schools as a child. In a 2019 speech, she described growing up in a town “in which the KKK regularly would come on the weekends and burn a cross in someone’s yard.”
When she attended Louisiana State University, David Duke, a white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan leader, was also a student on campus, Thomas-Greenfield said in recounting the deep racism she faced during her college years.
Blacks voting in large numbers saved Biden’s presidential campaign during the primary and the General Election. After he won the Electoral College, Biden promised to appoint Blacks and minorities to positions in his Cabinet.
There are also reports that Biden will nominate longtime adviser and veteran foreign policy hand Antony Blinken to serve as his Secretary of State, while picking another confidant, Jake Sullivan, for the role of national security adviser, according to three people familiar with the issue.
Richmond says he will play an active role in choosing his successor. The special election for his seat is scheduled for March with a runoff in April.
Richmond was first elected to Louisiana’s 2nd District in 2010. He boosted his national profile as he supported Biden’s presidential campaign, where he served as the campaign’s national co-chair. Richmond also serves as co-chair of Biden’s transition team.
Richmond chaired the Congressional Black Caucus during the first two years of President Donald Trump’s administration. He’s currently a junior member of Democratic House leadership as assistant majority whip.
The online news outlet Politico reported that Richmond’s hiring was lauded by South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn, the most senior Black Democrat in the House and one of Biden’s key allies during the 2020 campaign.
“I think everybody knows I’ve been pushing him for this administration forever,” Clyburn said. “I think it’s very good for both the administration and him.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Richmond told host Chuck Todd that Trump’s effort to overturn his defeat “undermines the confidence in government,” saying it was a fair election.
Richmond also said Biden’s transition should have access to “everything” as the new administration makes efforts to address national problems from the pandemic.
“We want to get in there right now, not talk to former officials, but [to] talk to the people that are in there right now doing their job, so we can be ready to start distributions of vaccines on day one,” Richmond said.