White House Press Shop Has One Thing in Common

Topping the list are Jennifer Psaki and Kate Bedingfield
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2020 5:00 PM CST
White House Press Shop Will Be All Female
Neera Tanden, president of Center for American Progress, speaks during an introduction for New Start New Jersey at NJIT in Newark, NJ, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris plan to announce their senior communications team this week—and the big news is it's all-female, CNN reports. "I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women," Biden said in a statement. "These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better." Biden also plans to name three people of color to his economic team. One name making headlines is Jennifer Psaki, who is expected to be White House press secretary:

  • Psaki held several top roles in the Obama administration, including White House communications director and State Dept. spokesperson, CNBC reports. She's been on Biden's transition team and "repeatedly sounded the alarm about the Trump administration’s refusal to allow access to materials relating to national security and the coronavirus pandemic," the Hill reported earlier this month.

  • Kate Bedingfield will likely lead the press shop as White House communications director, the Washington Times reports. Fortune notes that as communications director and deputy campaign manager for Biden's campaign, she managed "a team of at least 100" and did it "all from home, with two young children at her side."
  • Press team: Biden is expected to round out the team with Karine Jean-Pierre, a former official at the group MoveOn, as principal deputy press secretary. Pili Tobar, an immigration-reform advocate who worked for Sen. Charles Schumer, will be deputy White House communications director, per the Washington Post.
  • Harris' team: Ashley Etienne, an ex-Biden campaign adviser and communications director to Nancy Pelosi, is expected to become Harris' communications director. Symone Sanders, who also advised on the campaign, will be Harris' chief spokeswoman.
  • Neera Tanden, an Indian American, will be nominated to lead the influential Office of Management and Budget. The New York Times reports that her confirmation might run into trouble with progressive Democrats who believe she worked in the shadows to scuttle Bernie Sanders' 2016 run against Hillary Clinton. And Republicans might bristle at Tanden's outspoken criticisms of President Trump.
  • Cecilia Rouse, a Black economist at Princeton University, will get the nod to lead the Council of Economic Advisers. Nigerian-born Adewale "Wally" Adeyemo, who advised on international economics for the Obama administration, is expected to be deputy Treasury secretary under Janet Yellen, Biden's choice for Treasury secretary.
  • Criticism: Biden named three people of color after criticism arose that only one earlier pick—Linda Thomas-Greenfield, as US ambassador to the UN—was Black. "From all I hear, Black people have been given fair consideration," Rep. James Clyburn told the Hill earlier this week. "But there is only one Black woman so far."
(Biden says he wants his cabinet to "look like America.")

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