Political

Biden announces slate of White House senior staffers

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesBy MOLLY NAGLE and JOHN VERHOVEK, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President-elect Joe Biden has continued his hiring streak, announcing a slate of new senior staffers who will join him in the White House in January.

On Tuesday morning, Biden released the names of seven campaign aides and longtime advisers who will hold top positions in his administration.

Some names had been previously reported as likely to take top spots in the administration, including incoming Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley, Cedric Richmond, joining as a senior adviser to Biden and director of the White House office of Public Engagement, and Steve Ricchetti, a former chief of staff for Biden as vice president, who will now serve as a counselor to the president.

Another longtime Biden adviser, and Biden’s chief strategist during the campaign, Mike Donilon is also joining Biden’s administration as a senior adviser.

“I am proud to announce additional members of my senior team who will help us build back better than before. America faces great challenges, and they bring diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to tackling these challenges and emerging on the other side a stronger, more united nation,” Biden wrote in a statement released by his transition team on Tuesday.

Other key players from Biden’s campaign will also join the mix, including Biden’s Traveling Chief of Staff Annie Tomasini, who will join the Biden White House as the director of Oval Office operations.

Dana Remus, who served as the Biden campaign’s general counsel and helped lead the vetting process for the candidate’s vice-presidential selection process, is also joining the White House as counsel to the president.

Julie Rodriguez, who joined the Biden team as he transitioned into the general election matchup with Donald Trump, will serve as the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Rodriguez was the highest-ranking Latina in Biden’s campaign and currently holds the same distinction for Biden’s White House.

These seven top aides join previously-named incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain as part of the team that will take the reins of government in January.

“The team we have already started to assemble will enable us to meet the challenges facing our country on day one,” Klain said in the release.

Biden has long expressed his desire to build an administration that reflects the diversity of the country, including with regard to gender and race, but faced criticism during the primary for a lack of diversity among the highest echelons of his staff.

So far, Biden’s senior staffing announcements include an even split between men and women, but his staff is so far majority white, with Richmond joining as the only African American person and Rodriguez as the only Latino person.

In addition to Biden expanding his White House team, the transition also announced two top aides to incoming first lady Jill Biden. Anthony Bernal, who served as a deputy campaign manager and was Jill Biden’s chief of staff during the campaign, will serve as a senior adviser to the first lady, while Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, who served in the State Department during the Obama administration, will be Jill Biden’s chief of staff in the White House.

The staff expansion announced Tuesday provides the clearest picture yet of the team that will lead the White House through the ongoing public health and economic crises that have enveloped the nation for the last nine months and come as Biden has still not been able to formally begin transition work due to the lack of an official concession from President Donald Trump.

“It would make it a lot easier if the president would participate [in the transition],” Biden told reporters on Monday, adding that more people may die if there is not more coordination between his team and the Trump administration on the coronavirus pandemic.

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