As rumors buzz about who will top President-elect Joe Biden’s list of administration officials after his transition crew announced “agency review teams” this week, some are wondering if there will be room for notable far-left lawmakers in the Biden cabinet.
The Biden transition team did not respond to Fox News’ repeated request for comment on whether self-proclaimed Democratic socialists and far-left Democrats would be considered for leadership roles in the administration.
Prior to the election, Biden distanced himself from the socialism-friendly members of his party.
"Do I look like a socialist?” he said at an NBC News town hall.
“Look, I’m the guy that ran against the socialist,” Biden continued, referring to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. He said he'd been criticized for being “too centrist, too moderate, too straightforward” during the Democratic primary.
But Sanders already said he was open to the idea of a cabinet role and leading progressives have floated his name for the labor secretary position in the Biden administration.
"What's true is I want to do everything I can to protect the working families of this country who are under tremendous duress right now — whether that's in the Senate, whether that's in the Biden administration, who knows," Sanders said during an appearance on CNN. "Let's see how that unfolds."
Sanders was asked specifically about whether he would accept the role of labor secretary.
"If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it?" Sanders said. "Yes, I would."
And yet, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania and Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia are among the Democrats who've tried to distance themselves from socialism and the "defund the police" movement following the election.
Spanberger told her colleagues during a caucus call: “We lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund the police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again. We need to get back to basics.”
Clyburn said if “we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we're not going to win.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a leading progressive who was critical of Biden during the primary, has been floated as a potential pick for treasury secretary.
Both Warren’s ex-chief of staff Anne Reid and a senior adviser to Sanders Josh Orton were named this week to the Biden transition crew’s “agency review organization” which will examine the federal bureaucracy and staff agencies once Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris take office.
But nominating Warren or Sanders would be stealing them from either a razor-thin majority in the Senate or a minority — that’s yet to be decided in the two Georgia runoff Senate races.
Both Massachusetts and Vermont have Republican governors, ensuring that if Warren and Sanders left the Senate their seats would most likely flip.
Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters on Tuesday the president-elect has "not consulted me" about the possibility of Democratic caucus members joining the Biden-Harris administration.
And even if Democrats win the pair of Georgia runoffs early next year, putting control of the Senate at 50-50 with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker, moderates could still ax liberal appointees.