Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took to Twitter on Tuesday to blast some of Biden’s nominees as “caretakers of America’s decline” as he seemed to suggest he’d vote against confirmation.
“Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline I support American greatness And I have no interest in returning to the “normal” that left us dependent on China,” tweeted Rubio, who’s up for reelection in two years and who may once again have national aspirations in 2024.
Rubio’s tweet came a couple of hours before Biden, along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, formally introduced Antony Blinken as his nominee for secretary of state, Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security, Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, and John Kerry as special presidential envoy for climate. Biden announced the nominations on Monday.
Pointing to what could be a challenging road to confirmation for his nominees in a Senate that may still be controlled by the Republicans in January, Biden said Tuesday that "I hope these outstanding nominees receive a prompt hearing and that we can work across the aisle in good faith to move forward for the country. Let’s begin that work to heal and unite America."
The current balance of power for the next Senate coming out of this month’s elections is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means Democrats must win both of Georgia’s twin runoff elections on Jan. 5 to make it a 50-50 Senate.
If that occurs, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote, giving her party a razor-thin majority in the chamber. Otherwise, GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will remain as Senate majority leader.
Asked Monday by pool reporters if he expects Republicans to put up any significant roadblocks to his Cabinet nominees – who need Senate approval to be confirmed – Biden laughingly responded, “Are you kidding me?"
Rubio’s emphasis on the Ivy League credentials of Biden's nominees comes as the senator has spotlighted the GOP's move toward targeting working-class voters. Earlier this month he said in interviews with Fox News' "America's Newsroom" and with Axios that the future of the Republican Party was "based on a multiethnic, multiracial, working-class coalition" of supporters.
But Biden, in his announcement, spotlighted the diversity of his picks, noting that “we’re going to have the first woman lead the intelligence community, the first Latino, an immigrant, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, and a groundbreaking diplomat at the United Nations."
And during the presidential campaign, Biden repeatedly emphasized his lack of an Ivy League degree to spotlight his working-class roots. Biden will become the first president since Ronald Reagan without an Ivy League degree.