Republicans in Washington are slowly deserting President Donald Trump’s crusade to overturn his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden. And with a Biden’s inauguration just over a month away, the Capitol is preparing for an age-old battle: the cabinet nominations of the incoming administration.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) anticipated the next stages, saying, “We’re getting perhaps close to a new presidency and so there’s a lot of talk about how the Senate might handle new cabinet people.”
He continued, “Democrats are always lecturing Republicans about approving future Biden cabinet nominees even if we don’t agree with them. Now, that’s pretty darn rich. In other words, they’re saying something like this ‘don’t follow our example from the past four years.'”
The Iowa senator, who has been a leading Trump ally in the Senate, said that Democrats “seem to want two sets of rules for Republican and Democrat cabinet nominees.”
He added, “Trump cabinet and sub-cabinet nominees, even ones that have been easily confirmed in previous Republican administrations faced obstruction and partisan ‘nay’ votes. Many Democrat senators who aspired to be president voted against virtually every single Trump nominee, no matter how well qualified.”
Grassley said that a president should be able to choose his own cabinet, “provided, of course, that they’re qualified and follow the law.”
But he continued, “Can Senate Republicans be sure that if we employ that standard, Democrats will play fair with the next Republican president? I don’t want retaliation for its own sake but the threat of holding Democrat senators to their own standards has been our only means of deterrence of obstruction.”
Grassley said he wants to hear from Democrats why Republicans “should not now adopt their standards and vote down nominees based on politics?”
Sen. Chuck Grassley: "We're getting perhaps close to a new presidency." pic.twitter.com/4p2vlhY3lV— The Hill (@thehill) December 17, 2020
Biden has announced most of his cabinet positions and Republicans have already suggested that they will fight against at least some of those nominations.
Biden’s nomination of longtime Democratic political operative Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget was quickly panned by Republicans.
Throughout his presidency, Trump enjoyed a Republican Senate majority, which allowed him to easily push through many of his nominees. But party control of the Senate under Biden still hangs in the air and will ultimately be determined by a pair of runoff races in Georgia.