Post-2020 Election: Biden Transition and First Term

Post-2020 Election: Biden Transition and First Term

After a long week, most major media outlets are now reporting that Joe Biden has secured the votes needed to win the state of Pennsylvania, thus putting him over the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to win the election. Although Joe Biden is now widely accepted as the President-Elect as states continue the process of formally certifying results, President Trump has refused to concede and is mounting legal battles in multiple states. Most legal experts believe that these efforts will ultimately fail, and that any recount gains made by President Trump would be insufficient to overtake Biden’s lead.

In the meantime, President-elect Biden has been receiving briefings on COVID-19, the economy, and personnel as he begins the Presidential Transition in earnest.  He has also recently stated that he will (at a minimum) impose a mask mandate on federal property and work with governors and mayors to encourage them to implement their own mask mandates.

While there is an outside chance for Democrats to get to 50-50 in the U.S. Senate, it is more likely that House Democrats and Senate Republicans will maintain control over their respective chambers, albeit with diminished majorities. This divided government will lessen Biden’s chances of assembling the progressive Cabinet and policy platform he had initially hoped for had the Senate flipped.

President-elect Biden’s Transition Team

President-elect Biden has made it clear that his Administration will reflect the coalition that carried him to victory – consisting of both centrist Democrats, folks from the progressive wing of the party, and a number of former Obama Administration staffers.

Biden’s transition team hopes to raise between $7-$10 million, which is more than Secretary Clinton’s or Donald Trump’s transition teams had raised. Biden’s team also hopes to quickly assemble a fulltime transition team staff of up to 350.

President-elect Biden has stated that he will form the most diverse cabinet in modern U.S. history. However, jostling within the transition team over issues of ideological direction have been evident. The team’s current lineup represents a mix of moderate, pro-business Democrats, and progressive leaders from government and liberal think tanks; however, there is a left-wing push to exclude any corporate and establishment influences which consumed the Obama transition team during the 2008 financial crisis. It is also believed that the Senate’s likely Republican majority in the next Congress may force President-elect Biden to select a more centrist Cabinet.

Biden’s transition team is headed by former U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman (D), who filled Biden’s Senate seat for the remainder of his term after he was sworn in as Vice President in 2009. Mr. Kaufman was also then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff for many years. The team consists of an advisory board, a group of co-chairs, and a full-time staff. The team is currently divided into three sections: Policy, Personnel, and Logistics/Operations. They are currently working diligently on Department and Agency Landing Teams.

Today, the Transition Team created a COVID-19 advisory board.

COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board

  • Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Advisory Board Chairman
  • Rick Bright, Former Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
  • David Kessler, Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner
  • Luciana Borio, Infectious Disease Expert at Johns Hopkins
  • Ezekiel Emanuel, Chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Emanual is the brother of former Obama Chief of Staff, Congressman, and Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanual)
  • Atul Gawande, Surgeon & Founder of Ariande Labs
  • Celine Gounder, Infectious Disease Expert and Medical Journalist
  • Julie Morita, Executive Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Michael Osterholm, Epidemiologist & Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota.
  • Loyce Pace, MPH, President and Executive Director of Global Health Council
  • Robert Rodriguez, Professor of Emergency Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine
  • Eric Goosby, United Nations Special Envoy on Tuberculosis
  • Marcella Nunez-Smith, Professor of Internal Medicine, Public Health, and Management at Yale University

Transition Team Co-Chairs

  • Former U.S. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-DE)
    • Former Sen. Kaufman is a longtime Democratic operative and Biden advisor dating back to the 1970’s. He was appointed to fill Biden’s Delaware Senate seat in 2009 when Biden was sworn in as Vice President. He has been described as Biden’s progressive alter ego and one of his closest confidantes.
  • Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
    • Governor Grisham was elected in 2018 after having served three terms in the U.S. House. She had previously served in New Mexico state government. Governor Grisham has bene the subject of recent protests for stepping up her state’s COVID-19 public health restrictions as cases continue to rise.
  • Jeff Zients, Former Director of the National Economic Council
    • Zients was former President Obama’s economic advisor and was tasked with managing the overhaul of the troubled Healthcare.gov rollout in 2013. He also served as the Acting Director at the Office of Management and Budget during the Obama Administration. He has been touted as an expert manager, rather than a policy expert, who will ensure that Biden’s transition team runs as smoothly as possible during the pandemic.
  • Anita Dunn, Senior Biden Campaign Advisor
    • Dunn is a senior advisor to the Biden campaign on election protection issues, and she served a similar role during the Obama 2008 campaign. She was also the acting White House Communications director in the Obama Administration.
  • Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA)
    • Former Vice President Biden named former Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Richmond as his co-chairman of his campaign, and then again as a co-chair of his transition team. Congressman Richmond played a key role in securing the African American vote for the former Vice President during the Democratic Primary.

Transition Team Advisory Board

  • Cindy McCain (R), Widow of Former U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
    • Cindy McCain is a longtime friend of Former Vice President Biden, as was her late husband John McCain. McCain made the decision to endorse the Democratic nominee following President Trump’s reportedly disparaging comments about fallen and wounded soldiers, including his 2015 statement that John McCain was not a war hero because he was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. McCain will work to convince moderate Republicans and Independents to vote for Biden.
  • Felicia Wong, President, The Roosevelt Institute
    • Wong is the President of the Roosevelt Institute, which is a liberal think tank that advocates for the policies and ideals of President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady and Elanor Roosevelt.
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), Former 2020 Presidential Candidate and Mayor of South Bend, ID
    • Mayor Buttigieg was one of the first of Biden’s primary opponents to endorse him following his own failed bid for the Democratic nomination. He is a modern yet moderate voice in the Democratic party.
  • Bob McDonald (R), Former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Bob McDonald previously served as the CEO of Procter and Gamble, and later as VA Secretary under former President Obama. McDonald is one of the many former GOP officials who has publicly endorsed former Vice President Biden for president.
  • Susan Rice (D), Former Obama Administration National Security Adviser and U.N. Ambassador
    • Former Ambassador Rice was a prominent foreign policy expert during the Obama Administration, but she has been vilified by congressional Republicans for her handling of the Benghazi attacks of 2012.
  • Tony Blinken, Former Deputy Secretary of State
    • Tony Blinken was America’s number-two diplomat during the Obama Administration and is currently Biden’s foreign policy advisor. He recently stated in an interview with the Chamber of Commerce that a Biden Administration would use tariffs on imports and would rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
    • Former General Murthy has advised the Biden campaign on COVID-19 and the crafting of a federal response should Biden win in November.
  • Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates
    • Sally Yates was the Deputy Attorney General under the Obama Administration and into the early days of the Trump Administration. President Trump soon fired her after she refused to enforce his travel ban against Muslim-majority nations. She has since endorsed President-elect Biden and spoke on his behalf at the Democratic National Convention.
  • Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers
    • Former Secretary Summers led former President Clinton’s Treasury Department in the 1990s and advised former President Obama during the 2008 financial crisis. He would likely be relied upon heavily by a President Biden in tackling the current economic crisis.
  • Teresa Romero, President of the United Farm Workers Union
  • Lonnie Stephenson, President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • Cathy Russell, Former Chief of Staff to the former Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden
    • Apart from being Dr. Jill Biden’s former chief of staff, Ms. Russell also served as U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues in the State Department during the Obama Administration.
  • Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University, HBCU
    • Allen served as a speechwriter and assistant to then-Sen. Biden in the late 1990s.
  • Jared Bernstein, Biden Economic Advisor
    • Bernstein was President-elect Biden’s chief economic advisor during the Obama Administration and is now a senior fellow at theCenter on Budget and Policy Priorities.
  • Leslie Caldwell, Former Assistant Attorney General
    • Caldwell served as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration.
  • Former Ambassador Mark Gitenstein
    • Former Ambassador Gitenstein served as the United States’ Ambassador to Romania during the Obama Administration and is now in private practice.
  • Minyon Moore, Political Advisor
    • Moore is a longtime Democratic operative, having advised the 2016 Clinton campaign. She was reported to have been instrumental in securing the nomination of Sen. Kamala Harris as Biden’s vice-presidential candidate.

Transition Team Full-Time Staff

  • Yohannes Abraham, CEO of the Transition
    • Abraham served as an aide to Obama Administration senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and a deputy Assistant to the President. He was also the deputy national political director in former President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
  • Cynthia Hogan, Former Apple Lobbyist
    • Hogan is a longtime aide to President-elect Biden and was a lobbyist for Apple. Her presence in the transition team is an example of potential corporate influence that may anger Biden’s left-leaning advisers and voters.
  • Jessica Hertz, Director and Associate General Counsel at Facebook
    • Hertz is current associate general counsel at Facebook and previously worked in the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration.
  • Gautam Raghavan, Former Chief of Staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
  • Julie Siegel, Former Counsel to Sen. Elizabeth Warren
    • Siegel served as senior counsel for economic policy and banking counsel to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She has also in the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. She brings a wealth of expertise in consumer protection and economic policy to the Biden campaign.
  • Cecilia Muñoz, Former Obama Administration Official
    • Muñoz led former President Obama’s White House domestic policy council and is currently the vice president for public interest technology and local initiatives at New America.
  • Tanya Bradsher, Democratic Policy Veteran
    • Bradsher served as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) before joining the Biden transition team. She also served as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during the Obama Administration.
  • Suzy George, Democratic Policy Veteran
    • George was former President Obama’s Deputy Assistant. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer of The ONE Campaign. She amassed extensive foreign policy experience while serving as deputy chief of staff for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and special assistant and assistant counsel at the U.S. State Department.
  • Don Graves, Former Biden Staffer
    • Democratic political veteran Graves served as President-elect Biden’s director of domestic and economic policy during the Obama Administration. He will bring extensive economic experience to the Biden team.
  • Jessica Hertz, Former Facebook Associate General Counsel
    • Hertz is another representative of Big Tech who serves on Biden’s transition team, having worked as a director and associate general counsel at Facebook.
  • Tara McGuinness, Democratic Operative
    • McGuiness was the executive director of the Community Solutions Task Force at the Office of Management and Budget during the Obama Administration. She has also previously served as a communications and policy advisor to various Democratic campaigns.
  • Darla Pomeroy, Former Biden Staffer
    • Pomeroy is currently a corporate investor and previously served as staff assistant to the chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during then-Senator Biden’s chairmanship.
  • Carlos Monje, Former Director at Twitter
    • Monje most recently served as director of public policy and philanthropy for Twitter. He also served as the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy in the Department of Transportation during the Obama Administration, and then as the director of agency review for the Clinton-Kaine transition team. He has also previously worked for several Democratic senators prior to the Obama Administration.
  • Avril Haines, National Security and Foreign Policy Advisor
    • Haines served as the principal deputy national security advisor to President Obama and was the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Obama Administration. She also worked with then-Senator Biden deputy chief counsel at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

To view the remaining members of the transition team, please click here.