For the first time in US history, the entire senior communications staff will be women.
“I am proud to announce the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women,” said US President-elect Joe Biden. Yes! you read that right. Reflecting his stated desire to build a diverse White House team, Biden on Sunday announced that he will have an all-female senior communications team at the White House. It would be the first time in history that the senior communications roles in the White House will be filled entirely by women.
Four of the seven top communications roles at the White House will be filled by women of colour. These seven women are going to occupy some of the most visible roles in Joe Biden’s administration.
According to the reports, the senior communications team will be led by Kate Bedingfield, former deputy campaign communications director for Biden. Bedingfield previously worked as the communications director for Biden when he was the Vice-President of the US during Obama’s presidency.
Biden has also included former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki as press secretary in his communications team. Psaki served as communications director under former President Barack Obama in 2015 and spokeswoman for then-Secretary of State John Kerry. She also assisted Biden during the transition.
Symone Sanders, another high-profile Biden campaign aide, will serve as senior adviser and spokesperson to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Kate Bedingfield.
Ashley Etienne, a Biden campaign alum, will serve as communications director for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, while Pili Tobar, another campaign staffer, will be the deputy White House communications director. Karine Jean Pierre, a Biden senior adviser on the campaign, will serve as deputy press secretary. Another former campaign adviser, Elizabeth Alexander, will work alongside incoming First Lady Jill Biden as communications director.
All the seven top communications roles at the White House for the first time will be a historic all-female senior White House press staff.
Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris both believe in the fact that – “these qualified, experienced communicators will bring diverse perspectives to the work and will share a commitment to build the United States back better.”
Veterans of Obama administration:
Biden has picked a few veterans of the Obama administration. Bedingfield served as communications director for Biden when he was the Vice-President, while Psaki was the White House communications director and a spokesperson at the State Department during Obama’s administration.
Biden is also expected to nominate Indian-American Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Tanden is also a veteran of Obama’s administration as she served as a senior adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and helped craft the Affordable Care Act during Obama’s regime.
Karine Jean Pierre, who will serve as a principal deputy press secretary for the president-elect is another Obama administration alum, having served as a regional political director for the White House office of political affairs.
Elizabeth Alexander had also previously worked under the Obama administration as Biden’s press secretary. She had served as Biden’s communications director when he was a senator. Alexander worked as a federal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s offices in Washington, DC, and Alexandria, Virginia.
Contrast with Trump administration:
It was not that the Trump administration had no women. President Donald Trump’s communications team also comprised of several women, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Communications Director Alyssa Farah. But Biden’s approach of creating his communications team is highly different from the approach that Trump had.
Biden’s perspective behind building an all-women communications team is that he wanted to build a diverse team and a return to a more traditional White House press operation. Also, according to Biden, “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.”