Joe Biden names all-women White House communication team led by Jen Psaki as press secretary

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden named his White House senior communication staff Sunday, choosing a team of women led by Jen Psaki, a veteran of President Barack Obama’s administration, as his press secretary. 

‘Certainly I will:’ Trump says he would be part of a peaceful transfer of power

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Psaki, who wore many hats under Obama, including White House communication director, has overseen the confirmation team for Biden’s transition.

Turning to two top campaign aides, Biden tapped Kate Bedingfield as White House communications director, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris chose Symone Sanders as senior adviser and chief spokesperson. Bedingfield worked as deputy campaign manager and communications director for the Biden-Harris campaign. Sanders was a senior adviser to the campaign.



Jen Psaki smiling for the camera: President-elect Joe Biden chose Jen Psaki as his press secretary.


© Charles Dharapak, AP
President-elect Joe Biden chose Jen Psaki as his press secretary.

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Other hires are: Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for first lady Jill Biden; Ashley Etienne, communications director for Harris; Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy press secretary; and Pili Tobar, deputy White House communications director.

Biden continues to build his Cabinet and White House staff, led by Ron Klain, though President Donald Trump refuses to concede the election.

“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. “I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women. These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”

More: Ron Klain named Biden’s chief of staff, first White House official picked for administration

As press secretary, Psaki will become the public face of the Biden administration, a role that Kayleigh McEnany holds in Trump’s administration

“I grew up through the hard fought battles of winning back the House, winning presidential campaigns and fighting for the Obama-Biden agenda with @KBeds and looking forward to the journey ahead,” Psaki said Sunday in a tweet.

Psaki was communications director for Obama during his final two years in office. She was earlier a spokeswoman for the State Department, handling daily briefings with the international media.

President-elect Biden seeks a diverse Cabinet: Here’s who will join his administration and who might be top contenders

As communications director in 2015 and 2016, Psaki reorganized the White House approach to media with more attention for nontraditional and online outlets. She served as traveling press secretary for Obama

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Joe Biden names all-women White House communications team led by Jen Psaki as press secretary

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday named his White House senior communications staff, choosing a team of all women led by Jen Psaki, a veteran of President Barack Obama’s administration, as his first press secretary. 

‘Certainly I will:’ Trump says he would be part of a peaceful transfer of power

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Psaki, who wore many hats under Obama including White House communications director, has overseen the confirmations team for Biden’s transition team.

Turning to top campaign aides, Biden also tapped Kate Bedingfield as White House communications director and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris named Symone Sanders senior adviser and chief spokesperson for the vice president. Bedingfield worked as deputy campaign manager and communications director for the Biden-Harris campaign. Sanders served as a campaign senior adviser.



Jen Psaki smiling for the camera: Jen Psaki is seen Feb. 16, 2011, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. She served as communications director during the final two years of President Barack Obama's term and previously as spokeswoman for the State Department.


© Charles Dharapak, AP
Jen Psaki is seen Feb. 16, 2011, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. She served as communications director during the final two years of President Barack Obama’s term and previously as spokeswoman for the State Department.

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Other communications hires are: Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for first lady Jill Biden; Ashley Etienne, communications director for Harris; Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy press secretary; and Pili Tobar, deputy White House communications director.

The announcements come as Biden continues to build his Cabinet and White House staff, led by Chief of Staff Ron Klain while President Donald Trump refuses to concede the election that Biden won.

“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. “I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women. These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”

More: Ron Klain named Biden’s chief of staff, first White House official picked for administration

As press secretary, Psaki will become the public face of the Biden administration, a role that Kayleigh McEnany holds in Trump’s administration. 

“I grew up through the hard fought battles of winning back the House, winning presidential campaigns and fighting for the Obama-Biden agenda with @KBeds and looking forward to the journey ahead,” Psaki said Sunday in a tweet.

Psaki served as communications director for Obama during his final two years in office. She was earlier a spokeswoman for the State Department, handling daily briefings with the international press.

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Janet Yellen, the very model of a modern Madam Secretary

It is widely tipped that US president-elect Joe Biden will nominate Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary – one of the most important posts in any administration.

She will make for a terrific Treasury Secretary, bringing with her a wealth of experience and a lot of IQ points. Her appointment also signals what kind of president Biden is likely to be.

Yellen (born August 13, 1946) comes with impeccable credentials. She received her PhD in economics from Yale under Nobel-prize-winning economist James Tobin. She was on the faculty at Harvard and for a long time at the University of California, Berkeley. She was chair of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Bill Clinton and went on to be president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.

President Barack Obama nominated her in 2010 to be vice-chair of the US Federal Reserve. In 2013 she succeeded Ben Bernanke to become the Fed’s 15th chair.

With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, she is the very model of a modern policy maker.

A centrist and experienced administrator

Yellen is in many ways a traditional centre-left economist. Her academic work focused mainly on imperfections in labour markets and how unemployment can arise.

One of her best-known papers concerns how workers will put in less effort if they think they are being paid below what they consider to be a “fair” wage.

As chair of the Federal Reserve, given the tough position the US economy was in, Yellen used monetary policy in a conventional and aggressive way – much like her more conservative successor Jerome Powell has done.

But she also championed tougher financial regulation and emphasised that economic inequality was not merely an intrinsic concern but could be a drag on economic growth.

The Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen testifies at a hearing of the Federal Reserve Board Joint Economic Committee in November 2017,
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Though Yellen is in every way an excellent choice to head the US Department of the Treasury, Biden had other options.

He was under pressure to nominate someone much further to the left. Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of Biden’s rivals for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, reportedly wanted the job herself – although to her credit she has praised Yellen as “an outstanding choice” in recent days.

Yellen may believe in tougher financial regulation, but Warren would have been more than that; she has called the business of Wall Street “legalised looting”, indicated her desire to destroy the entire private equity industry, and to impose a wealth tax of 6% a year – enough to destroy capital accumulation, if not capitalism itself.

All of this signals that Biden, in eschewing the more radical Warren, is (a) not crazy, and (b) planning to run a centrist administration.




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Meet The Women Who Could Become America’s First Female Secretary Of Defense Under Biden

Four different people have served as Defense Secretary in less than four years under Trump, and the recent termination of Mark Esper during a critical transition period places the secretary of defense position and in effect, the United States, in a somewhat vulnerable place. With the presidential inauguration a mere 58 days away and president-elect Joe Biden’s indication that key Cabinet roles will be announced in the near future, looking to the top contenders is this season’s political roadmap to clarity in what is to come. 

Laying out plans for a strong defense strategy and continuing or reversing Trump policies as to the U.S. military will be an early and critical test of Biden’s promises and deliveries. Two of the frontrunners for defense secretary are women. If Biden appoints one of them, she would be the first woman in the office’s 74-year history to hold the position. 

Michele Flournoy

Michele Flournoy, considered a frontrunner candidate, served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy during the Obama administration from 2009 to 2012 where she managed nearly 1,000 people. Prior to that she worked on national security issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and as a second principal deputy in the defense department during Clinton’s second term, for which her responsibilities included covering Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

A Harvard and Oxford graduate, Flournoy’s views on international affairs may be what Biden is looking for, but her recent experience as head of WestExec Advisors, where she deals with Fortune 100 companies may not put her in the best light with progressives.

One of the earlier agenda items in 2021 will be handling of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Trump’s administration will likely cut troops down from 4,500 to 2,500 by January 15. This so far sounds consistent with Biden’s plans since he has indicated he wants to keep a few thousand soldiers in Afghanistan to maintain a small but effective counterterrorism force. If the 2018 agreement between the U.S. and the Talibans stating that all forces will leave the country by Spring 2021 is enforced, then the number will shrink even more. Flournoy, however, has previously taken the opposite stance, supporting an increase in troops abroad. During the Obama administration, she supported adding up to 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, which Biden opposed. 

Flournoy shares Biden’s views as to the escalating threat that China poses, making her a likely pick. She wrote about how China’s rise as a competitor in technological areas will determine military advantage while underscoring her disapproval of how the U.S. is currently handling

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