A group supporting President-elect Joe Biden that is made up members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is arguing that Biden should appoint Latter-day Saints to prominent positions in his administration.
Latter-day Saints for Biden/Harris argues that the only way for the president-elect to meet his promise to “be a president for all Americans” is to appoint people to his administration who reflect the makeup of the whole country.
The group’s national director, Rob Taber, says that includes Latter-day Saints.
“There are thousands of presidential appointment roles in an administration. Most people tend to focus on the Cabinet, but there are all kinds of roles that are political appointments,” he says.
“There are Latter-day Saints historically who have served Democratic administrations, and there are people who are extremely well qualified for many of these jobs.”
He contends that Biden could bring geographic diversity to his administration by tapping church members from the Intermountain West. Some potential picks for jobs under Biden could include Rep. Ben McAdams, who is leaving Congress after his November reelection loss, Utah Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Peterson, who has worked for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Nichole Dunn, who was McAdams’ chief of staff. Dunn, however, is not a member of the LDS Church.
The group is not arguing that Biden should pick Latter-day Saints to the exclusion of other applicants or should institute some sort of religious quota. It simply believes that there are many well-qualified church members who deserve consideration for the thousands of political appointments that need to be filled come January.
Previous Democratic administrations have done a poor job of picking church members to fill political appointments, Taber says, pointing to just a handful during the Obama administration.
President Donald Trump’s current national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, is a Latter-day Saint, as was former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and Trump’s first staff secretary, Rob Porter.
Taber points out that Biden and Harris enjoyed strong support from Latter-day Saints during the 2020 campaign. Those voters may have helped Biden flip Arizona, a key state in his Electoral College total.
“Don’t write off Latter-day Saints because the perception is they’re mostly Republicans,” Taber says. “There’s no conflict between being a Latter-day Saint and serving in the Biden administration.”
The group plans to formally release a letter to the Biden administration detailing its argument next week.