A Cabinet nominee not making it to the finish line is a story as old as Washington. In the past, nominees have been forced to withdraw because of things like hiring undocumented workers or a questionable business deal or an unwillingness to be as transparent about your past life as our modern politics demands.
But with Neera Tanden's nomination by President Joe Biden to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget, we may be witnessing the first nominee derailed by Twitter.
On Friday, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced that he wouldn't support Tanden's nomination because of her past tweets savaging a number of Manchin's colleagues.
"I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden's public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator Sanders to Senator McConnell and others. I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget," said Manchin. "For this reason, I cannot support her nomination."
Manchin's announcement imperiled Tanden's nomination, as Democrats control only 50 seats in the Senate. With Manchin against her, Tanden now needs at least one Republican senator to back her nomination for her to make it. And early Monday morning, the Republican considered one of the most likely to back her said she would not -- again because of Twitter.
Here's Maine Sen. Susan Collins on her opposition to the Tanden nomination:
Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency. Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend.
"In addition, Ms. Tanden's decision to delete more than a thousand tweets in the days before her nomination was announced raises concerns about her commitment to transparency."
And on Monday, a statement from Sen. Mitt Romney's office made clear that he would be a "no" on the Tanden nomination, citing Twitter as the reason.
"Senator Romney has been critical of extreme rhetoric from prior nominees, and this is consistent with that position," spokeswoman Arielle Mueller said. "He believes it's hard to return to comity and respect with a nominee who has issued a thousand mean tweets."
While Tanden's chances are significantly less good than they were even 72 hours ago, the White House is insisting that they will continue to push for her to be confirmed.
"Neera Tanden=accomplished policy expert, would be 1st Asian American woman to lead OMB, has lived experience having benefited from a number of federal programs as a kid, looking ahead to the committee votes this week and continuing to work toward her confirmation," tweeted White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday morning after the Collins statement came out.
For years, Tanden, Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, has feuded -- most frequently and famously on Twitter, where she is prolific and pointed -- with Sanders supporters. Those clashes have occasionally pitted her against personal allies of the Vermont senator and tapped into the left's frustrations with the internal practices of the liberal think tank she's led for nearly a decade.
By the time she was introduced by Biden on Tuesday, alongside other senior members of his economic team, Tanden's path to Senate confirmation already seemed in some peril -- but not because of dissent from the left. The pugilistic president of the Center for American Progress and longtime aide to Hillary Clinton has punched both ways during her long political career. Some Senate Republicans were quick to highlight her past attacks on the right as a reason they might oppose her confirmation.