Joe Biden served as Vice President for eight years. He was a part of the U.S. Senate for decades. This is a man who shouldn’t have to be told what the rules are – he should know by now.
But Joe Biden has an ego the size of Texas. He believes that he’ll get what he wants simply because he has willed it so. As for his pick for Defense Secretary, it may not happen because it would require a waiver.
It would be a miracle if Joe Biden would be willing to pick anyone who was under the age of retirement for his cabinet. But since Biden will be the oldest president at the time of inauguration, it’s clear that he feels more comfortable with the 60+ crowd.
Lloyd Austin is a retired Army General. At the age of 67, he’s served his country and has gone to work in the public sector. Biden, though, has decided that this is the man who needs to be the Defense Secretary.
While it’s great that the president-elect has chosen someone who has served in the military, and a four-star Army general no less, there are still some issues.
Title 10 of the United States Code identifies that a defense secretary would require a waiver if they’ve served in the capacity of a military officer within the past seven years.
Well, a waiver will definitely be required if Austin is to be the defense secretary as he retired in May 2016. It’s barely been four years, which means that not only will the Senate have to confirm him, but the waiver would also have to be approved by majorities in the House and Senate along with a signature from the president.
Since there have been quite a few concerns about civil-military relations throughout the Trump administration, particularly with former military serving in civilian roles, Austin may be a tough sell to Congress.
Waivers have been granted in the past. The Senate approved one so that retired General Jim Mattis could serve. However, there were quite a few Democrats to vote against it – including several who now serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC).
Here's the full list of 17 Senate Democrats who voted against a waiver of the seven-year rule for Mattis to serve as SecDef back in 2017: pic.twitter.com/xCtyBnM3b1
— Leo Shane III (@LeoShane) December 8, 2020
Jack Reed, a Democratic Senator in Rhode Island who is also the ranking member of the SASC, said during the waiver process for Mattis that “waiving the law should happen no more than once in a generation.” He identified that he would not support a waiver for any future nominees.
It’s likely that there will be plenty of others who support Reed’s commitment to civilian leadership in the Pentagon.
Biden has been a Senator. He knows the rules. So why would he even bother nominating Austin when he knows that it will require a waiver? Why go through all of that only to have to choose another name later on?
Well, Biden’s trying to make good on a promise. Lloyd Austin isn’t just a retired general – he’s also black. Biden has said all along that he’s looking to have more black cabinet members. He wants diversity. And since he’s looking to nominate the first-ever black Secretary of Defense.
Biden’s so arrogant that he thinks that he can break the rules and get the votes because of his commitment to diversity. He feels he’ll get the support of the Black lawmakers because, hey, if they’re black, they’ll vote in the way that Biden wants, right?
Biden’s becoming a pushover. He’s choosing people based on skin color instead of whether they’re capable of getting the job done.
Although Austin has the experience, he’s also one of the commanders who oversaw the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – conflicts we’re now trying to walk away from.
Diversity is great, but at what expense? The reality is that Biden knew that it would be harder to get Austin through but he’s so egocentric that he believes that the Senate will vote the waiver through because of Austin being black.