Biden Hails Women in Gov't, But Fails to Single Out Transgender Rachel Levine, USA Today's 'Woman of the Year'

Susan Jones | March 16, 2022 | 9:29am EDT
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Dr. Rachel Levine is President Biden's Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services and the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the U.S. (Photo by CAROLINE BREHMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Dr. Rachel Levine is President Biden's Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services and the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the U.S. (Photo by CAROLINE BREHMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "Welcome to Women’s History Month celebration," President Biden told a large group of mostly females on Wednesday. "We’re honored to have what may well be the most inspiring event we’ve had at the White House so far."

In his opening remarks, the president singled out various members of Congress and his administration, even the first lady of Iceland. But -- notably -- the president did not name his male-born, transgender Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Rachel Levine, who was at the gathering -- and was recently named USA Today's "Woman of the Year."

Biden began his remarks by noting that Vice President Kamala Harris was absent. But Biden mistakenly called Harris the "first lady," prompting a correction from his wife Jill, who is the first lady:


"[T]here’s been a little change in the arrangement of who’s on the stage because of the First Lady’s husband contracting COVID," Biden said, before he corrected himself. "It’s me that’s not together," he joked.

Then Biden recognized some of the prominent women attending the event:

Biden hailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, "who I believe will be considered one of the greatest speakers in our history," he said.

He hailed his diverse Cabinet -- "the first to have an equal number of women and men," he said.

Biden named some of those Cabinet members, including Avril Haines -- "the first woman to lead our intelligence community as Director of National Intelligence."

He called the name of former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, now his Energy Secretary.

"And Isabel Guzman, the Small Business Administration...Katherine Tai, U.S. Trade Representative. And she knows how to cut a deal," Biden joked.

He continued with his list:

"And Cece Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers...Janet Yellen, the first female Secretary of the Treasury...Deb Haaland, the first Native American person in the Cabinet as Interior Secretary. Gina Raimondo, former governor, leading the Commerce Department. Marcia Fudge, Housing and Urban Development...And Shalanda Young, newly confirmed — just minutes ago."

Then Biden misnamed his ambassador to the United Nations: "And Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenhouse — Greenfield, excuse me," he corrected himself.

"And it's not just the Cabinet," Biden said. "We have women in senior roles in every level here at the White House, across the administration, many of whom are here today."

The transgender Levine would fall in that "senior role" category, but at Tuesday's gathering, Biden did not credit himself with what he once called a "historic" choice.

However, the president did tout his historic Supreme Court pick: "And something I’m very proud of: I kept my commitment to be — nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court."

The final name to roll across Biden's teleprompter was that of a "special guest" -- "the first lady of Iceland, Eliza Reid. Eliza, where are you? Stand up," Biden said. "Give her a big hand. She is a real champion for gender equality. We had a nice long talk...."

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) posted to Twitter a composite photo, captioned: "Incredible evening at the White House celebrating #WomensHistoryMonth and #EqualPayDay with my colleagues and members of @USWNT. I even ran into PA’s own @HHS_ASH Dr. Rachel Levine."

Levine, a pediatrician, formerly served as Pennsylvania Health Secretary.

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