Biden’s deputy chief of staff pick says of working with Republicans

Campaign manager for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, Jen O’Malley Dillon, speaking in October 2019 ((CBS News))
Campaign manager for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, Jen O’Malley Dillon, speaking in October 2019 ((CBS News))

President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon called Mitch McConnell “terrible” and claimed “I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of f*****s”, in reference to Republicans.

In an interview with Glamour that was published on Tuesday, Ms O’Malley Dillon, 44, who also served as Mr Biden’s campaign manager, said the president-elect will attempt to work with Republicans while in office, but then went on to criticise them.

“The president-elect was able to connect with people over this sense of unity. In the primary, people would mock him, like, ‘You think you can work with Republicans?’ Ms O’Malley Dillon said on Tuesday.

“I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of f*****s,” she then added in reference to Republicans, before saying that she thinks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “is terrible”.

“But this sense that you couldn’t wish for that, you couldn’t wish for this bipartisan ideal? He rejected that,” Ms O’Malley Dillon added.

Despite being a key ally to President Donald Trump over the last four years, Mr McConnell finally congratulated Mr Biden on Tuesday, more than one month after he was declared the winner of 3 November’s election.

Mr Biden said that he called the Senate majority leader after Mr McConnell recognised his victory, and said that they had a “good conversation,” according to The Hill.

Ms O’Malley Dillon, who is the first woman to manage a winning Democratic presidential campaign, told Glamour the president-elect ran on a platform of “unity” during his 2020 run.

“From start to finish, he set out with this idea that unity was possible, that together we are stronger, that we, as a country, need healing, and our politics needs that too,” the 44-year-old said.

In recent weeks, Mr Biden has drawn criticism from progressive Democratic representatives, who have claimed that his early cabinet picks are too moderate, according to Mediaite.

Many of the early appointments served under the Obama administration, when Mr Biden was vice-president, while popular progressive politicians, such as Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren look unlikely to be nominated for a role.

In her interview with Glamour, Ms O’Malley Dillon said that it will be difficult to make progress, but added that the party needs to be able to listen to both sides.

“Like Joe Biden says all the time, ‘Great leadership starts with listening,’” she said. “It’s challenging for us to do that right now, because of how polarised we are.

“But politics breaks down to one-on-one conversations and not being afraid to talk. I get that you’re not supposed to talk politics at the holiday dinner. Well, f**k that. It’s because we don’t do that that we are in this situation now,” Ms O’Malley Dillon added.

She also said that compromise is needed if the US is going to make progress, as Republicans could possibly have control of the Senate for at least the first two years of Mr Biden’s administration.

“I also think, as in love, compromise is a good thing,” the 44-year-old said. “The atmosphere in the world now is like, ‘Oh, if you compromise, you don’t believe in something.’ No, it’s ‘I believe in it so much that I’m going to work to find a path we can both go down together.’

“That feels to me like the heart of relationships and love and success across the board.”

Speaking after the confirmation of his Electoral College victory on Monday, Mr Biden called for unity and said it is time to “turn the page, as we’ve done throughout our history, to unite, to heal”.

The Independent has contacted the Biden transition team and Mitch McConnell’s office for comment.

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