- In his forthcoming book, Andrew Yang sheds light on how close he came to a Biden cabinet position.
- Yang writes that he pitched the creation of a “Secretary of Technology” position.
- He also says “some members of Congress” encouraged him to go after commerce secretary.
While there were rumors about Andrew Yang potentially getting a cabinet position in the Biden administration, little was known about where he may have ended up. In a copy of his forthcoming book obtained by Insider, Yang describes three positions he considered, one of which does not yet exist.
Yang also recounts interviewing with the Biden transition team for labor secretary.
He ultimately ended up running for New York City mayor, where he finished fourth in a crowded Democratic primary field campaigning under ranked choice voting for the first time.
“While I was in Georgia, I was also thinking about what was next for me,” Yang writes. “I interviewed with the Biden transition team for the secretary of labor role. They asked me to present a vision for the department. I said that we are in the midst of a crisis. We are down more than ten million jobs, and 42 percent of the jobs that have been lost will not return.”
Yang also says he wrote a seven-page memo on what he would do as labor secretary, with the White House selection eventually going to former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
At another point in the transition, Yang recalls being encouraged by “some members of Congress” to lobby for himself to get the commerce secretary pick.
Initially, he was eyeing either commerce or labor for his next gig.
“A former secretary of labor as well as a former secretary of commerce told me that if I wanted the job, I should lobby everyone associated with the transition for that role and have my connected and influential friends do the same,” Yang writes. “Some members of Congress were pushing me for secretary of commerce.”
However, Yang also thought of another option, which would involve convincing Biden’s team — and eventually Congress — to create a new position.
“I had also proposed a new secretary of technology and innovation role to the transition team that would consolidate the USDS and the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House into an expanded role,” Yang writes.
While both labor and commerce are cabinet positions, the Constitution does not explicitly outline the notion of a cabinet, and there are other “Office of the White House” positions that are not included in the cabinet.
Adding to a recurring theme in the book, Yang reflects on how he was dispositionally ill-equipped to play the so-called inside game of Washington networking.
President Joe Biden called Yang after he dropped out of the presidential primary in February and again later in March to ask for his endorsement, but did not reach out directly about a cabinet position, according to Yang.
While considering his options in the incoming administration, Yang was also looking into what would become his failed mayoral bid.
“Around the same time I was discussing potential jobs in the Biden administration, my team commissioned a poll to see how I would perform if I decided to run for mayor of New York City,” Yang writes.
“The results came back that I would start as the front-runner thanks to high name recognition and high favorability,” he continues. “I knew, though, that this just gave us a chance: everyone looks good before they start running.”