Joe Biden announces all-female senior White House press team

30 November 2020, 15:54

President-elect Joe Biden
Biden. Picture: PA

Four of the seven top communications roles at the White House will be filled by women of colour.

US President-elect Joe Biden will have an all-female senior communications team at his White House, in what his campaign said would be a first for the country.

Mr Biden’s campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield will serve as his White House communications director, while Jen Psaki, a long-time Democratic spokeswoman, will be his press secretary.

Four of the seven top communications roles at the White House will be filled by women of colour, and the incoming president said he wanted to have “diverse perspectives” among his team.

Jen Psaki will be Mr Biden's press secretary
Jen Psaki will be Mr Biden’s press secretary (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

In a different area of the White House operation, Mr Biden plans to name Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the liberal think tank Centre for American Progress, as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

It follows four years in which Donald Trump upended the ways in which his administration communicated with the press.

In contrast with administrations past, Mr Trump’s communications team held few press briefings, and those that did occur were often combative affairs riddled with inaccuracies and falsehoods.

Mr Trump himself sometimes served as his own press secretary, taking questions from the media, and he often bypassed the White House press corps entirely by dialling into his favourite Fox News shows.

In a statement announcing the White House communications team, Mr Biden said: “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.

“These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”

Others joining the White House communications staff include Karine Jean Pierre, who was Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ chief of staff, and will serve as a principal deputy press secretary for the president-elect.

Pili Tobar, who was communications director for coalitions on Mr Biden’s campaign, will be his deputy White House communications director.

Neera Tanden will be director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to a source
Neera Tanden will be director of the Office of Management and Budget (Mel Evans/AP)

And Ashley Etienne, a former communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will serve as Ms Harris’ communications director, Symone Sanders, another senior adviser on the Biden campaign, will be Ms Harris’ senior adviser and chief spokesperson, and Elizabeth Alexander, who served as the former vice president’s press secretary and his communications director while he was a US senator, will serve as Jill Biden’s communications director.

Mr Biden later announced his senior economic team, including his plan to nominate the first woman to head the Treasury Department as well as several liberal economists and policy specialists who established their credentials during the previous two Democratic administrations.

In a statement, Mr Biden said he would nominate Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, to lead the Treasury Department. He also named Wally Adeyemo, a former Obama administration official and the first CEO of the former president’s non-profit foundation, as his nominee for deputy Treasury secretary.

Mr Biden also unveiled his White House economic team, consisting of economists Cecilia Rouse, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey.

Mr Biden, who has placed a premium on diversity in his selection of Cabinet nominees and key advisers, is looking to notch at least a few firsts with his economic team selections.

By Press Association