Before he was elected the next President of the United States, Joe Biden said he would build an administration that “looks like America.” Now, with his recent White House appointments, he seems to be delivering on that promise.
On Sunday, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced the members of the White House senior communications team, the first time in history that all seven roles will be held by women.
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“Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a President, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House,” Biden said in a statement announcing the team. He continued, “These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”
The members of the new team include:
- Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director. Bedingfield served in the same role on the Biden-Harris campaign, as well as when Biden was Vice President.
- Jen Psaki, White House press secretary. Currently, Psaki oversees the confirmations team for the Biden-Harris transition, and previously, she served in the Obama administration as White House communications director.
- Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy press secretary. During the campaign, Jean-Pierre was a senior advisor to Biden as well as Harris’s chief of staff. She’s an alum of the Obama administration and was previously the chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org.
- Pili Tobar, deputy White House communications director. On the Biden-Harris campaign, Tobar served as the communications director for coalitions, and previously worked as the deputy director for America’s Voice.
- Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for First Lady Jill Biden. Alexander was Biden’s communications director when he was a U.S. senator, as well as his press secretary when he was Vice President. She was also a senior advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign.
- Ashley Etienne, communications director for Vice President Harris. Etienne was also a senior advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign and formerly served as communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She’s also an alum of the Obama administration.
- Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson for Vice President Harris. Sanders was previously a senior advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign and, in 2016, served as the youngest-ever national press secretary on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.
In her own statement, Harris called the women “experienced, talented, and barrier-shattering.” (Harris’s niece, author and CEO Meena Harris, put it succinctly when she called the newly-announced team “The Office of I’m Speaking,” calling back to her aunt’s iconic line from the vice presidential debates.)
And while Biden seems set on making history with his staff, he’s not finished yet. According to CNN, Biden will also be announcing a diverse, female-led economic team on Monday. He’s expected to choose Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary, Center for American Progress CEO Neera Tanden as the head of the Office of Management and Budget, and Obama alum Cecilia Rouse as the head of the Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed, Yellen would be the first woman to serve as the U.S. Treasury secretary; Tanden would also be the first woman of color to oversee the OMB, while Rouse would be the first woman of color to chair the council.
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