President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Sunday announced the first ever all-women senior White House communications team.
The Washington Post first reported the news on Sunday afternoon.
“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. “These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better.”
President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris today announced new members of the White House staff who will serve in senior communications roles.
For the first time in history, these communications roles will be filled entirely by women.https://t.co/SjWAWJg941
— Biden-Harris Presidential Transition (@Transition46) November 29, 2020
The seven women chosen for Biden’s incoming White House communications shop have worked on his presidential campaign or held top roles in the Obama administration.
Anita Dunn, a top Biden campaign aide, told the Post that Biden’s team chose to announce the female-led group at once to signal that the various top administration offices will work in tandem in a field predominantly led by men.
“The odds are very high that if it’s a story about the Biden administration, any aspect of it, at least one quote in the story will be from a woman,” Dunn told the Post.
Jennifer Psaki, a veteran Democratic spokeswoman who previously served as White House communications director under President Obama, will become Biden’s White House press secretary.
Kate Bedingfield, who served as a prominent spokesperson for the Biden presidential campaign in her time as its communications director, is set to hold the same title in the President-elect’s White House.
Karine Jean Pierre, who served as a Biden campaign adviser and former top official with the liberal group MoveOn, will fill the position of Principal Deputy Press Secretary.
Pili Tobar, a former staffer of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who also worked for the liberal immigration reform group America’s Voice, will serve as deputy White House communications director.
As for Harris’ communications team, Ashley Etienne, who previously served as a senior Biden campaign adviser, will be the Vice President-elect’s communications director — a position she held during her time working for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, will take on the role of chief spokeswoman and senior adviser of Harris.
“Our country is facing unprecedented challenges — from the coronavirus pandemic to the economic crisis, to the climate crisis, and a long-overdue reckoning over racial injustice,” Harris said in a statement. “To overcome these challenges, we need to communicate clearly, honestly, and transparently with the American people, and this experienced, talented, and barrier-shattering team will help us do that.”
The incoming East Wing communications team, who will work with Jill Biden, will be led by Elizabeth Alexander, a former campaign adviser and former federal prosecutor.
According to the Post, Biden is expected to make more historic announcements by appointing Neera Tanden as director of the influential Office of Management and Budget. Tanden, who serves as the chief executive of the Center for American Progress, would be the first woman of color to lead the OMB.
The Post also reported that Biden is set to tap Princeton University labor economist Cecilia Rouse as the first woman of color to chair the three-member Council of Economic Advisers.
The Biden transition team’s latest announcement comes on the heels of the President-elect announcing his diverse group of Cabinet and administration picks for national security and foreign policy positions.