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Outrage is building on the left over President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of longtime Hillary Clinton ally and avid tweeter Neera Tanden to run the Office of Management and Budget.
Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, will need Senate approval for the position, which could pose a problem for the Democrat even if her party were to gain the majority in the body.
If Democrats win both Senate runoffs in Georgia, they will have split the chamber 50-50, with any ties to be broken by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. This means Tanden cannot afford to lose a single vote on the Democratic side — a risk given her relationship with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Sanders and Tanden’s rocky relationship dates back to the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, when the Clinton ally was a senior voice in the former secretary of state’s campaign.
WikiLeaks emails from that time revealed that she referred to staffers at the progressive news website ThinkProgress as “crazy leftists.”
Tension between the two escalated in 2019, when Sanders was seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination and Tanden was running CAP.
Sanders wrote a letter accusing the organization, and Tanden, of “maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas” during the primary.
He also accused ThinkProgress, which is operated under the CAP Action Fund, of falsely claiming in a video that he had changed his rhetoric surrounding millionaires after becoming one himself.
At the time, Tanden said ThinkProgress was “editorially independent.”
Shortly after, their relationship was strained further when the New York Times reported about an incident years earlier in which Tanden punched Faiz Shakir, who ran Sanders’ 2020 presidential effort, “in the chest.”
The alleged incident took place in 2008, when she accompanied Clinton to what was supposed to be a softball interview with Shakir, then chief editor of ThinkProgress’ website.
Shakir asked Clinton about her support for the Iraq War, which had been a source of controversy in her candidacy at the time. Tanden, according to the Times, circled back to Shakir after the interview and punched him in the chest.
Tanden denied it was a punch when reached by the Times, but did acknowledge getting physical with him.
“I didn’t slug him, I pushed him,” Tanden said in a tone described by the paper as “still angry.”
“I don’t know anyone personally in Bernie world who is happy about this choice. We’re talking about a woman who’s notorious for assaulting Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager,” Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ 2020 campaign press secretary, told Politico of the choice.
“It’s like putting Chelsea Clinton in the office. She’s clearly not a friend of the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party,” Kurt Ehrenberg, Sanders’ former longtime political strategist, concurred to the outlet.
As part of the nomination process, Tanden will come face to face with Sanders, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, which will oversee her hearings.
A Sanders spokesman declined to comment to The Post on how he planned to vote on Tanden’s nomination.
The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on Tanden’s behavior or her nomination.
On the right, Tanden is facing backlash as well.
The OMB nominee is a prolific tweeter. She has used the platform to issue bombastic criticisms of lawmakers — as well as voters — who identify to her right and left.
The vocal Democrat appears to have deleted over 1,000 tweets since Nov. 1, after posts targeting lawmakers whose vote she will need for confirmation resurfaced.
The tweets, some deleted and some still live, reference GOP lawmakers by name, tagging them, and blasting them for supporting President Trump, or in some cases, attacking them personally.
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