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US President-elect Joe Biden. (REUTERS)
US President-elect Joe Biden. (REUTERS)

Biden’s cabinet and White House picks: Who they are and what we know

  • From West Wing to national security, president-elect has started making plans to fill his administration

President-elect Joe Biden has begun making plans to fill his administration, naming the people he plans to tap for senior White House positions and cabinet slots.

Here is how Mr. Biden plans to fill some of the top jobs:

West Wing

Ron Klain, White House Chief of Staff

Mr. Klain served in the 1980s on the Senate Judiciary Committee while Mr. Biden served as chairman and on Mr. Biden’s first presidential campaign in 1987. He was chief of staff to former Vice President Al Gore and then held the same role when Mr. Biden was vice president. He also served as Ebola czar under President Obama. He has been taking a leave of absence from his role as executive vice president and general counsel at Revolution LLC, an investment firm. He taught a class at Harvard Law School during the campaign, and he launched and co-hosted a weekly podcast earlier this year.

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Jen O’Malley Dillon, Deputy Chief of Staff

Ms. O’Malley Dillon was Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign manager. She is a top former Obama campaign aide and was campaign manager for former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s Democratic primary campaign.

Mike Donilon, Senior Adviser to the President

Mr. Donilon was a chief strategist on Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign. Mr. Donilon’s ties to Mr. Biden go back to 1981. He is a veteran of Mr. Biden’s presidential campaigns and served as counselor to then-Vice President Biden in the White House.

Steve Ricchetti, Counselor to the President

Mr. Ricchetti was Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign chairman. He was in the lobbying business for a decade. His clients included pharmaceutical companies, the American Hospital Association and AT&T Inc. Before joining the vice president’s office as Mr. Biden’s chief of staff during President Obama’s second term, Mr. Ricchetti sold his stake in the lobbying firm he had co-founded with his brother in 2001.

Dana Remus, Counsel to the President

Ms. Remus served as a top lawyer in Mr. Biden’s campaign and was deputy White House counsel during the Obama administration.

National Security:

Antony Blinken, Secretary of State

Mr. Blinken served as staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while Mr. Biden served as a U.S. senator representing Delaware, and he worked on Mr. Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign. He had roles as deputy secretary of state during President Obama’s second term and as national security adviser to Mr. Biden while he served as vice president. Mr. Blinken opened a consulting firm in 2017 called WestExec Advisors. He served as Mr. Biden’s top foreign-policy adviser during his 2020 presidential campaign.

Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense

Gen. Austin served in the U.S. Army for more than 40 years. His last job in uniform was four years ago as the head of U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for military operations in the Middle East. He serves on several corporate boards—including aerospace and defense company Raytheon Technologies Corp., for-profit hospital chain Tenet Healthcare Corp. and steel production company Nucor Corp—and would require a congressional waiver because he hasn’t been out of uniform for the required seven years.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

Ms. Thomas-Greenfield served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2013 to 2017. Before that she was U.S. ambassador to Liberia from 2008 to 2012 and held diplomatic posts in several other countries. She is currently on leave from the Albright Stonebridge Group, where she led the consulting firm’s Africa practice.

Jake Sullivan, national security adviser

Mr. Sullivan is a former national security adviser to Mr. Biden while he served as vice president. He was a senior policy adviser to Mr. Biden’s campaign and served in senior roles to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As director of policy planning at the State Department, he played a key role in negotiating with Iranian officials as the Obama administration sought to put together the Iran nuclear agreement.

Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security

Mr. Mayorkas, a Cuban-Jewish immigrant whose family fled the Fidel Castro regime in 1960, served as the U.S. attorney for the central district of California under former President Bill Clinton. During Mr. Obama’s first term, Mr. Mayorkas received high marks from immigration advocates for leading the agency that administered the deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for young immigrants living in the country without legal permission. He later served as deputy secretary of Homeland Security.

Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence

Ms. Haines worked with Mr. Biden when he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as the committee’s deputy legal counsel. A person familiar with her record said that as deputy national security adviser under Mr. Obama, she oversaw a process that led to an increase in U.S. refugee admissions to 110,000 in 2017 from 70,000 in 2015. President Trump has sharply scaled back those numbers. She also played a role in Obama administration policies intended to limit civilian casualties from drone strikes and other uses of U.S. force.

John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate change

Mr. Kerry served as secretary of state under Mr. Obama and previously as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts. He was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004. His position will be on the White House National Security Council, the transition team said.


Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury

Ms. Yellen was the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve. If confirmed, she would become the first person to have headed the Treasury, the central bank and the White House Council of Economic Advisers. She has also been president of the San Francisco Fed, a Fed governor and is professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley.

Neera Tanden, Director of the Office of Management and Budget

Ms. Tanden is the head of the Center for American Progress, a center-left think tank. During the Obama administration, she was one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act. She was also an adviser to Hillary Clinton and has publicly tangled with allies of Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. If confirmed, Ms. Tanden would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian woman to oversee OMB.

Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council

Mr. Deese worked on Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign, then joined his National Economic Council, eventually rising to deputy director. He also was a deputy OMB director and a senior adviser to the president, with a central role in negotiating the 2015 international climate change agreement. After leaving the White House, Mr. Deese joined BlackRock Inc. as global head of sustainable investing.

Cecilia Rouse, Chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers

Ms. Rouse is a Princeton University labor economist, and she served as a CEA member during the first two years of the Obama administration. She also served on the NEC during the Clinton administration. She would be the first woman of color to chair the CEA.

Jared Bernstein, member of the Council of Economic Advisers

Mr. Bernstein was among a group of rotating advisers who participated in daily economic briefings for Mr. Biden this year. He served as chief economist to Mr. Biden when he was vice president and was an architect of the Obama administration’s roughly $800 billion package enacted in the first few months of 2009 to stimulate the economy. He has been a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities since 2011.

Heather Boushey, member of the Council of Economic Advisers

Ms. Boushey was also among the group of advisers who gave Mr. Biden daily economic briefings this year. She is the president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a nonprofit research organization she co-founded in 2013. She served as the chief economist for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 presidential transition team.

Adewale Adeyemo, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury

Mr. Adeyemo has served since 2019 as president of Mr. Obama’s foundation. He worked as a senior adviser for BlackRock from 2017 to 2019. During the Obama administration, he was the Treasury Department’s lead negotiator on the currency agreement that was part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and in 2010, he was one of the first officials charged with setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mr. Adeyemo, who as a child emigrated from Nigeria with his family, would be the department’s first Black deputy secretary.

Health Care:

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services

Mr. Becerra is the attorney general of California. He led a coalition of 20 states and Washington, D.C., in a legal defense of the Affordable Care Act after Republican-led states brought a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Obama-era health law. He served in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2017.

Jeff Zients, Covid-19 Response Coordinator

Mr. Zients, a business executive, led the National Economic Council during much of Mr. Obama’s second term. Before that, he was a senior official and acting director at the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Zients has also been a top executive with the Cranemere Group, an investment holding company, and he was a top executive at the Advisory Board Company, a health-care research and consulting firm.

Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General

Dr. Murthy will reprise his Obama-era role as U.S. surgeon general. He previously led Doctors for America, a group that pushed for what became Democrats’ 2010 health law, and was a doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Fauci, who has served as the director of NIAID since 1984, is on the current White House Task Force but has had an uneven relationship with President Trump. Mr. Biden has asked Dr. Fauci to remain in his role.

Other Policy:

Marcia Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Ms. Fudge, an Ohio congresswoman, is a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. She has represented a Cleveland-area congressional district since 2008. Before serving in Congress, Ms. Fudge worked in the prosecutor’s office for Cuyahoga County and was later elected as the first Black and first female mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio.

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture

Mr. Vilsack will return to a department that he led in the Obama administration. He previously served as Iowa governor for eight years, stepping down in 2007. He campaigned for the presidency in late 2006 and early 2007, but dropped out of the race after 86 days.

Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Mr. McDonough was White House chief of staff in Mr. Obama’s second term and previously was deputy national security adviser and worked for the National Security Council. He was also a congressional aide. Since leaving the White House, he has been teaching at the University of Notre Dame and overseeing a research program that tracks and evaluates the presidential transition.

Susan Rice, Director of the Domestic Policy Council

Ms. Rice served as U.N. ambassador at the beginning of the Obama administration and later became Mr. Obama’s national security adviser. Ms. Rice was under consideration to be Mr. Biden’s running mate and was also discussed as a potential secretary of state. The Domestic Policy Council position doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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