Show an ad over header. AMP

Joe Biden's diverse Cabinet

If Joe Biden wins the presidency, his advisers plan to assemble the most diverse Cabinet in U.S. history as he works to fulfill a pledge to build the Democratic Party on a new generation of leaders.

The big picture: Many of Biden's longtime aides, most of whom are white and male, are expected to follow him to the West Wing. That means the pressure will be on to recruit a Cabinet that's both younger and more diverse.

  • Biden confidants tell Axios that several women and people of color are under consideration for top posts at State, Defense, Treasury and Justice.

What we’re hearing: Though Biden's team is talking about infusing the Democratic Party with fresh faces, many of these potential picks also served under Barack Obama or are well known figures in the party.

  • Michele Flournoy, who served as an under secretary for Defense in the Obama administration, is widely regarded as the front runner for the Pentagon.
  • Jeh Johnson, who served as Obama's second secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, could get the top job at Defense, where he also was general counsel in Obama's first term.
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who was considered for Biden's VP, is also a possibility to head the Pentagon, or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Former national security adviser Susan Rice, who was also a VP finalist, could be in the mix for State,the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.
  • Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are among those who may be considered to head the Justice Department.

While there has been a lot of speculation around Warren leading Treasury, we have heard that's not the most likely scenario.

  • But at least three other women's names are on our radar: Janet Yellen, who under Obama became the first female Fed chair; Lael Brainard, a current Fed Governor who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations; and Sarah Bloom Raskin, who served on the Fed and as deputy Treasury secretary under Obama.

Two Black economists are also in the Treasury mix: TIAA president and CEO Roger Ferguson, and Raphael Bostic, president of the Atlanta Fed. Either also could be in the mix to replace Jerome Powell as Fed Chair when his term is up in the summer of 2021.

  • Rep. Cedric Richmond, a former leader of the Congressional Black Caucus who signed on as Biden's campaign co-chairman in May 2019, is another potential cabinet pick.
  • New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, another VP candidate, could also find herself in the cabinet.
  • Lisa Cook, an African American economist at Michigan State University, could be the first African American female to head the Council of Economic Advisers.

What they are saying: "Joe Biden is running a campaign that mirrors our diversity as a nation," said Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman.

Between the lines: In Biden’s world, friendships are measured in decades, not years. Breaking into Biden’s inner circle has always been a challenge — and that's been made even more difficult by the pandemic.

  • Cabinet members will want to know they'll have real decision-making authority and access to Biden, and not just cosmetic roles.
  • In Obama’s White House, many key decisions were made in the West Wing, and left to implement by the agencies. President Trump has taken that dynamic to new levels.

The intrigue: Biden's team worked throughout the summer to add more people of color to his campaign. As of mid-September, 46% of his staff were people of color, up from 35% in early June, campaign officials tell Axios.

  • Biden senior adviser SymoneSanders, a 30-year-old African American woman who was Bernie Sanders' press secretary in his 2016 presidential bid, travels with Biden and brings a progressive voice to the table.
  • Biden also values the political judgment of Rep. Jim Clyburn and will consult him on how to fill out his Cabinet.

Trump plans to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” in effort to dramatize Hunter Biden emails

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails, Jonathan Swan tells me. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

Keep reading... Show less

Intel shares drop sharply despite mostly solid earnings report

Shares of Intel fell as much 10% in after-hours trading Thursday — after the company posted quarterly revenue and earnings generally in line with expectations.

Why it matters: The chip giant is a bellwether for the PC industry, and small signs of weakness may be playing an outsize role in spooking investors.

Keep reading... Show less

FBI: Russian hacking group "Energetic Bear" stole data after targeting local governments

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.

Keep reading... Show less

FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment

Gilead Sciences on Thursday received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for remdesivir, an antiviral treatment that has shown modest results against treating COVID-19.

Why it matters: It's the first and only fully FDA-approved drug in the U.S. for treating the coronavirus.

Keep reading... Show less

How the coronavirus pandemic might end

It's still the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but history, biology and the knowledge gained from our first nine months with COVID-19 point to how the pandemic might end.

The big picture: Pandemics don't last forever. But when they end, it usually isn't because a virus disappearsor is eliminated. Instead, they can settle into a population, becoming a constant background presence that occasionally flares up in local outbreaks.

Keep reading... Show less

Urban housing prices are on the rise

Data: ATTOM Data Solutions; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Home prices are rising rapidly across the U.S., according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Driving the news: ATTOM released its 3Q 2020 figures this week, concluding that 77% of metro areas posted "double-digit annual home price gains." Profit margins rose in 86% of the 103 metropolitan statistical areas studied.

Keep reading... Show less

Podcast: Quibi RIP (2020-2020)

Short-form video streaming app Quibi announced that it will cease operations, just six months after a high-profile launch backed by $1.75 billion in funding from studios and venture capitalists.

Axios Re:Cap digs into what went wrong and what happens next, with REDEF CEO Jason Hirschhorn.

Mayors plan multifront attack on census shutdown

A growing number of mayors are banding together to fight what they consider to be an inaccurate and abruptly curtailed 2020 census, using an arsenal of legal, legislative and congressional efforts.

Why it matters: The outcome may determine whether President Trump or Joe Biden controls the redistricting process, which governs everything from congressional representation and redistricting to funding for schools and Head Start.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories