A Guide to President-Elect Biden’s Cabinet Picks


Photo Courtesy of Sky News

Joe Biden promised a cabinet that would be representative of the American people. So far, his nominations have certainly embodied the diversity of our nation. If all of his cabinet members are approved, there will be many firsts: the first woman, the first black person, and first woman of color in these positions. Biden already made history in selecting Kamala Harris, the first black, South-Asian, and female vice president in U.S. history. Here’s a guide to Joe Biden’s cabinet picks 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken:

Antony Blinken is the former deputy Secretary of State under the Obama administration. He worked with Biden in the past, which brings some comfort and familiarity back to the White House. He also plans to bring America back into a friendly light as an ally to other countries. As he said in 2016, “Put simply, the world is safer for the American people when we have friends, partners and allies.”

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen:

Joe Biden has chosen a former chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, as his Secretary of the Treasury. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first woman to lead the treasury department. Yellen would also be taking on the huge responsibility of rebuilding the COVID-19 struck economy. There is some controversy in Biden’s choice, as many Democrats wanted the more progressive Elizabeth Warren to take on the role. 

Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin:

Lloyd Austin is a retired Army General of the U.S. If the Senate approves this nomination, Austin would become the first black Secretary of Defense. Austin was the last commanding general of United States Forces – Iraq Operation New Dawn. In an article titled Why I Chose Lloyd Austin as the Secretary of Defense Joe Biden explained that Austin practiced diplomacy and represented the United States with “honor and dignity, and above all, look[ed] out for his people.”

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack:

Veteran government official Tom Vilsack also served as Secretary of Agriculture under the Obama administration. He was also the Governor of Iowa from 1999-2007. Despite having years of experience, some critics of his believe that he caters to large corporate farms.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra:

Xavier Becerra is the current Attorney General of California and former member of the House of Representatives. If approved, Becerra would be the first Latino man to run the department. He will also be tasked with addressing the pandemic, which would include vaccine and PPE distribution, as well as advocating for mask wearing. 

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge:

Marcia Fudge is set to become the first black female Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She has been a Representative in Congress since 2008. She would be succeeding 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson in this role. Previously, Fudge played a role in the House Agriculture Committee, making her a strong candidate for the job. 

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough:

Ben McDonough previously worked as Obama’s deputy national security advisor and later as his chief of staff. McDonough also has experience with this department after working with former Secretary of VA, Robert A. McDonald. 

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas 

Mayorkas is a Cuban-born Latino immigrant who is a veteran of the department. Mayorkas served as the Department of Homeland Security deputy secretary under Obama. Many believe that bringing in an immigrant to run this department could introduce the compassion necessary to make decisions on immigration to the U.S. 

Chief of Staff Ron Klain:

Ron Klain is yet another close friend of President-Elect Biden and has worked with him since the 1980s. He is a lawyer that has much experience on Capitol Hill. He was the Chief of Staff to both Vice President Al Gore and to Biden. 

Office of Management and Budget Director Neera Tardin

Tardin has managerial experience from her time as adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Tardin was also the adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama Administration. She often spoke out against the Trump Administration and their policies. Tardin has worked with Biden in the past.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai:

Under the Trump Administration, foreign trade relationships are not as strong as they used to be. If Tai is approved, she will be in charge of rebuilding these relationships. She was the Chief Trade lawyer in the House of Representatives, giving her experience for the job. She would also be the first woman of color to take on the role of U.S Trade Representative. 

National Intelligence Director Avril Haines:

Avril Haines would not only be the first woman to take on this title, but she was also the first woman to become the deputy director of the CIA from 2013-2015. Haines also served as the White House Deputy National Security Adviser under the Obama administration. 

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan:

Jake Sullivan was Biden’s National Security Adviser during his Vice Presidency, succeeding Antony Blinken in 2013. Sullivan also worked beside Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign run, focusing on foreign affairs. Although young, he is well known in the Democratic party and shows much promise.

UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield:

Selecting Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN Ambassador is quite a statement for Biden to make. She was forced out of the State Department by the Trump Administration, so inviting her back into the White House is truly showing that Trump is soon to be gone. 

Council of Economic Adviser Chair Cecilia Rouse:

Rouse worked as a White House economic adviser to the Clinton administration and the Obama administration. If approved, she would be the first Black chair.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry: 

Unlike President Trump, Biden is demonstrating initiative to take climate change seriously and help with the prevention of further damage. To do so, he has appointed John Kerry to not only work on climate, but to specifically work on climate change. This will also give Kerry a seat on the National Security Council. 

Communications Director Kate Bedingfield:

Only 38 years old, Kate Bedingfield is a rising political figure. She worked as the deputy campaign manager for Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, and she was his Communications Director when he was Vice President. 

Press Secretary Jen Psaki:

Jen Psaki was the White House Communications Director from 2015 to 2017 and previously served as Deputy Communications Director under the Obama administration. She was also previously Press Secretary to Obama. Prior to Trump, presidents rarely ever made their own statements to the press. Biden will most likely will make the majority of his statements through Psaki.