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‘Squad’ members double down on demands, oppose possible Biden administration new hire

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The female progressive lawmakers known as the “Squad” are raising their voices to demand that presumptive President-elect Joe Biden do their bidding by instilling their radical policies such as defunding the police and implementing the Green New Deal. They are also staunchly against Biden’s consideration of Rahm Emanuel for a spot in his administration.

On Thursday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar held a rally where they indicated that Biden should take a more aggressive approach on racial issues.

They were also vociferous on social media. In a lengthy Twitter thread, Omar stated that pushing racial justice and standing behind “Black Lives Matter,” whose activists have advocated “defunding” the police, was a boon to the party’s electoral prospects. Many in the Democratic Party disagree with that and instead claim that radical stances such as defunding the police cost them seats in the House and hurt their majority there.

“When people single out a slogan like ‘Defund’ as a catch-all excuse for underperformance, they are undermining a movement of Black activists who stared down police repression as they demanded change in the streets,” Omar said.

“They’re also playing into the Republican efforts to distort the success and popularity of the movement. It is the job of activists to gain attention for their cause. It is the job of elected officials to translate those cries for justice into popular legislation.”

The tweets were an obvious shot at Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) who responded brusquely to the party’s leftward drift before November. During a caucus call just days after the election, Spanberger told her colleagues: “We lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund the police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again. We need to get back to basics.”

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) also said that if “we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win.”

At the rally, Omar took issue with the “basics” argument. “So, I was confused because I thought what is more basic than fighting for clean water? What is more basic than fighting for a breathable planet? What is more basic than trying to make sure we get health care for people?” she asked.

Also pushed at the event was the Green New Deal by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Congressman-elect Mondaire Jones (D-NY).

AOC proclaimed, “We owe our political power because of young people, because of the movement for Black lives, because of women, because of the working class across this country. And it’s a class issue. It’s a race issue. It’s a gender issue. Because growing up as a little girl, I never, ever saw any elected representation that even didn’t really thought like me, let alone looked anything remotely like me. It’s working. It’s happening. And we are going to secure a future. We’re going to secure the basic tenets of a Green New Deal, a multi-trillion dollar jobs program for climate, for environmental, racial, gender, and class justice. That’s what the Green New Deal is and we will stick to that plan. So thank you all so very much.”

Both Omar and Ocasio-Cortez condemned Biden for considering Rahm Emanuel, a former Obama administration adviser and mayor of Chicago, for a spot in the next administration.

Jones has accused Emanuel of covering up Laquan McDonald’s murder. “That he’s being considered for a cabinet position is completely outrageous and, honestly, very hurtful,” Jones added.

McDonald was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in 2014. The officer was eventually found guilty of second-degree murder.

Jones also accused Emanuel of trying to “weaken” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and attacked him for school and clinic closures that impacted the Black community.

“I believe the Biden Administration is sincerely committed to dismantling systemic racism,” Jones tweeted. “Giving Rahm Emanuel a cabinet position would threaten that vital work,” he added.

Emanuel has defended his handling of the McDonald case and has written an op-ed denial that he withheld video of the shooting because of an election.

He said: “No one could have predicted that it would take more than a year to finish the probe … At the end of the day, I am the mayor and I own it. I take responsibility for what happened and I will fix it.”

Emanuel’s brother Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has already joined Biden’s transition team. He is an oncologist who works with the National Institutes of Health and has served as an Obama administration advisor from 2009 to 2011. He is the author of the ‘Complete Lives System’.

Ocasio-Cortez previously stated that Emanuel would be a “divisive” pick.

“Not all Democrats are the same,” she tweeted last summer.

Biden transition official Jen Psaki seemed to make an effort to quiet things down in the ranks. “I would encourage people to wait until we’ve made even one announcement about a Cabinet member and certainly more than just a dozen White House names, before they pass judgment,” she said.

She also claimed that Biden’s cabinet would have “people from diverse backgrounds, diverse experiences, and a diversity of political views, including from all sides of the Democratic Party.”

Ocasio-Cortez recently stated that the Biden team had a thin line to walk in appeasing the party. Picking Emanuel, she said, would signal “a hostile approach to the grass-roots and the progressive wing of the party.”

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