Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is being strongly considered for labor secretary in the new Biden administration, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Fox News, but racial diversity considerations are weighing heavily on President-elect Joe Biden’s decision.
Walsh, a longtime union member and leader, has curried support from a number of union heads including the president of the nation’s largest labor organization, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO.
Walsh’s office declined to comment on his candidacy for the cabinet position – citing a previous statement to Boston.com in November, when his name first surfaced for potential roles in the upcoming Biden administration.
“While it’s an honor to be mentioned among the many highly-qualified individuals being considered for a role in the Biden Administration, I am focused on my job as mayor of the City of Boston,” Walsh said at the time.
Despite his staff’s reluctance to comment, Walsh has not announced his intention to run for reelection in 2021. Two of his opponents on the Boston City Council have declared their candidacies.
Like Biden, Walsh is Catholic. The 53-year-old Boston native is also a recovering alcoholic, now 25 years sober. He has a longstanding relationship with Biden, who presided over Walsh’s second inauguration in 2018. The two share common ground on many issues, including labor initiatives and efforts to combat climate change. In November, Walsh was named Chair of Climate Mayors, a coalition of 468 U.S. Mayors “committed to bold environmental action upholding the Paris Climate Agreement.”
Walsh’s potential nomination is seen by congressional Democrats as a way to reach construction workers and other laborers who supported President Trump, but two sources said his status as a White man is not helpful to his chances of being nominated.
A third source disputed the claims that Walsh’s whiteness is seen as a potential negative, with this person saying they have not heard such chatter – only that Walsh is “in the mix.”
In the meantime, congressional caucus members are lobbying for their favorite picks. The Congressional Black Caucus tweeted support of Patrick Gaspard, calling the post “critically important for our communities, particularly in light of the disproportionate number of Black workers deemed essential in the pandemic.”
The Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus has been calling on Biden to appoint an AAPI nominee to any Cabinet post – writing this weekend, “As more cabinet nominees are announced, it is clear that this could be the frist time in over two decades that there will not be a single AAPI Secretary serving in a presidential Cabinet.”
A fourth source familiar with the discussions also disputed that Walsh’s skin color is seen as a potential hangup, adding that the incoming administration’s diversity initiatives are not limited to race, but strive to achieve a diversity of viewpoints, life experiences and backgrounds.