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Justice Democrats says Biden is on thin ice with progressives after ‘corporate-friendly’ appointments

Andrew Kerr, DCNF

A leading progressive group warned Tuesday that President-elect Joe Biden’s “corporate-friendly appointments to his White House” risks fracturing any goodwill he built up with the left-wing of the Democratic party.

“A Biden administration dominated by corporate-friendly insiders like Steve Ricchetti and Cedric Richmond will not help the President-elect usher in the most progressive Democratic administration in generations,” Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandria Rojas said in a statement.

“Progressives make up nearly half of the Democratic Party’s seats in the House of Representatives and should receive adequate representation in the Biden administration,” Rojas said.

Justice Democrats, best known for spearheading New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset primary campaign against former New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018, took umbrage with Biden’s announcement Tuesday that he was appointing Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond and longtime confidant Steve Ricchetti to posts in his administration.

Richmond would be in charge of public outreach as the head of Biden’s Office of Public Engagement and Richetti would serve as Biden’s counselor, the same position Kellyanne Conway held for most of President Donald Trump’s administration.

The positions are set to make Richetti and Richmond among the most senior of Biden’s aides in the White House, according to The New York Times. The two will likely have offices situated down the hall from the Oval Office.

Justice Democrats said in a tweet Tuesday that their appointments were “unacceptable.” Rojas highlighted Ricchetti’s past work as a pharma lobbyist and his representation of groups that were “vociferously opposed to Medicare For All and the public manufacturing of prescription drugs.”

Rojas also noted Richmond’s status as one of the “top Democratic recipients of fossil fuel money.”

“Richmond received $92,000 from oil and gas corporate PACs this year, including Exxon. Richmond has been aggressively criticized by his own constituents for failing to act on their concerns revolving around industry regulations and the climate crisis,” Rojas said.

Rojas said Biden’s appointments Tuesday gave greater urgency for the president-elect to create an “Office of Climate Mobilization” to stand up to the fossil fuel industry.

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