President-elect Biden chooses all-female White House press team

December 3, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has named an all-female senior communications team for his upcoming administration. More than half of the seven positions will be filled by women of color.

The choices are part of Biden’s effort to create an administration that, in his words, “actually looks like America.”

Biden’s campaign communications director, Kate Bedingfield, will serve as the White House communications director. She served in a similar position for Biden when he was vice president during the administration of President Barack Obama.

Jen Psaki will serve as his press secretary. She held several positions in communications during Obama’s administration, including as State Department spokesperson.

Of the seven women team members four are women of color. Three of the them are African American: Ashley Etienne, Karine Jean- Pierre, Symone Sanders, and one Latina, Pili Tobar. Jean- Pierre and Tobar are also openly gay.

Biden’s communication team is expected to return to more traditional ways of talking and meeting with members of the press.

President Donald Trump and his administration’s communication team have had an unusual relationship with the press. His team has held comparatively few press briefings. Those that did happen were often hostile. Trump sometimes spoke directly to announcers of Fox News television programs instead of reporters for the White House.

In a statement announcing the White House communications team, 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.”

Janet Yellen

Biden has also nominated women to several high-level positions in his Cabinet. On Monday, November 30, 2020 the president-elect and his transition team announced Janet Yellen as nominee for US Treasury Secretary. If the Senate confirms her, Yellen will become the first woman ever to lead the Treasury Department.

Last week, Biden named Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Thomas-Greenfield, a Black woman, served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa from 2013 to 2017 under Obama.

Neera Tanden

Biden has also nominated Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence; Neera Tanden as Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Cecelia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.

As a presidential candidate, Biden promised that people chosen for his administration would represent the diversity, or mix, of the American public.

In an opinion article published last summer, as protests spread nationwide over the police killings of Black people, Biden wrote: “Across the board — from our classrooms to our courtrooms to the president’s Cabinet — we have to make sure that our leadership and our institutions actually look like America.”

Biden also said over the summer that he would choose a woman to serve as his vice president. On August 11, he chose Senator Kamala Harris, a Black and Indian woman. Harris is now set to become the country’s first female vice president.

People of color make up almost half of Biden’s transition team, Forbes magazine reported last month. Women make up a small majority of the team.