Andrew Yang, former presidential candidate for the Democratic party, says that he stopped talks about serving in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration in order to run for New York City mayor instead. Here’s what he revealed.
He Was in Ongoing Talks About a Tech-Focused Role
In an interview with The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 FM, Yang revealed for the first time details about the opportunities he had within the Biden administration and why he turned them down. Yang’s response about his talks with the Biden administration begin at about 34:45 in the video above, when he was asked if he ran for mayor because he wasn’t offered anything worthwhile. He said that wasn’t the case, revealing that he was still in ongoing talks when he moved on.
I was in talks with the Biden administration. I have a lot of friends there… But the truth is…I ended those conversations because I saw that my city needed me. The conversations were ongoing, and then I said, ‘Look… Sorry guys, I appreciate all the work that you put into figuring out where I fit in the administration, but I’ve got another mission now… So that’s the way that situation got resolved, and I am pumped because this is where I’m meant to be.
When asked if he was going to be given a new position or an existing position in the administration, he shared more details.
We talked about a bunch of things. I was talking about something tech-facing and tech-related… And so this goes back to your Capitol Hill question. A lot of the stuff that’s driven the conspiracy theories and the QAnon phenomenon and the rest of it is social media… We have to recognize that social media is dramatically increasing the level of energy that’s going to some really, really nasty and racist stuff. So I was talking to the administration about trying to help in that direction because I think that’s an existential threat moving forward… Unfortunately, most folks in Washington are kind of behind on technology.
He also was actively campaigning for Biden before the election, he shared earlier in the interview.
“I was campaigning for Joe and Kamala,” he said. “I had a policy where anything they asked me to do, I did. So I went to Pennsylvania and campaigned for them. I was raising money any way I could. A lot of that was online because of COVID.”
There were rumors back in December that Yang had turned down an offer from the Biden administration, as indicated in the tweet below.
His interview on January 14 with The Breakfast Club was the first time Yang spoke in detail about why he turned down a possible opportunity to work with the Biden administration and what that opportunity was.
His Non-Profit Has Been Talking with the Biden Administration About Recurring Checks
Yang’s non-profit, Humanity Forward, has also been in talks with the Biden administration about the concept of offering recurring checks for Americans, Business Insider reported in late December.
Press Secretary Greg Nasif said they had been talking about “recurring economic relief.” He said the administration was open to new ideas.
He Talked About Why He Is Running for Mayor & His Future Plans
When asked why he wants to run for mayor, he said: “It’s because my city is hurting and I believe I can help. I mean, this is a deep, dark hole we’re in… This city is in deep distress and we need to step up.”
He said he doesn’t just plan to return New York City to a pre-COVID state, but he wants to solve problems the city has had for decades. He added that he’s been in New York since 1996.
“A lot of people know me from the presidential, when I fought for universal basic income, or maybe from CNN or maybe from hanging out with you guys…” he said. “The fact is, we have a son in public school here. I got married at City Hall. I was here during 911… Our first son was born during Hurricane Sandy… I’ve been here in New York for a long time.”
Yang revealed that he wants to give Internet to some of the 29% of New Yorkers who don’t have high-speed Internet. He also talked about wanting to give cash to the poorest residents of New York City.
“We’re going to commit $1 billion a year to the poorest half a million New York City residents to lift everyone out of extreme poverty,” he shared. He then provided more details on how that would happen.
We’re going to work with a New York City ID, which you can get a New York City ID essentially regardless of your circumstances, and we’re going to tie it to some of the existing city programs that are in place to help people with food stamps and other benefits. … If you’re below a certain level, we’re going to cash you up. And so we’ve looked at the numbers and said there are about half a million New Yorkers who are in extreme poverty that we can cash up out of extreme poverty. … Where is that money going to go? It’s going to go right to keeping them in their home, to food, to you know daycare, to local bodegas, to some of the restaurants and businesses… So this is an investment in New York City itself. I’m going to be running an anti-poverty platform.