President-elect Joe Biden has announced a slate of key posts for his administration related to national security and economic policy. Does it signal a shift away from conventional wisdom or a rejection of the status quo?
While the official transition did not begin until earlier this week, President-elect Joe Biden had already began assembling his cabinet and announcing key posts.
- In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, the President-elect declared “This is not a third Obama term,” saying the challenges his administration will face are different than what President Obama and Vice President Biden had to confront in 2009.
- Last week, ABC News’ FiveThirtyEight reported on how to discern what personnel choices mean for an incoming administration, including whether and how the Biden administration will “placate” certain constituencies in the Democratic Party.
- In the same interview with Holt, Biden appeared to pour cold water on appointing former rivals Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to his cabinet, saying “it’s going to take really strong leaders in the House and Senate to get [Biden’s agenda] done.”
- Two women are making headlines as the first females in their appointed roles: Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen will be appointed Treasury Secretary while Avril Haines will serve as the first female Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
- Former Senator John Kerry is returning to Washington, having been named Biden’s “special envoy for climate change,” with Axios reporting his position on the National Security Council signals the importance the Biden administration will place on the subject.
- During a press event formally unveiling the national security and foreign policy appointees, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s pick to be Ambassador the United Nations declared “America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.”
- Incoming Secretary of States Anthony Blinken went on record to support The Trump Administration’s diplomatic efforts, including those that led to the historic Abraham Accords. The Times of Israel says Blinken wants to build on the Accords.
- ABC News reported Biden’s picks so far are going to create “the most diverse [cabinet] ever.”
- The New York Times called the appointments a reunion of “a group of former senior officials from the Obama administration”, and they share adherence to Democrat foreign policy establishment principles.
- The Guardian was circumspect in mild criticism, saying that while Biden has promised a “diverse administration”, his picks so far have not strayed from his long-time inner circle.
- CNN used its reporting on John Kerry’s climate appointment as an opportunity to take shots at President Trump, saying he repeatedly ignores “scientific reality of the [climate] crisis and systematic rollback of environmental policies.”
- The Atlantic’s Graeme Wood heaped praise on the incoming administration’s personnel announcements and what he calls “hypercompetence”, and pejoratively painted the Trump Administration as comically incompetent.
- The Federalist’s reporting Haines’ appointment to DNI ties her to John Brennan, a central figure in the unfounded beliefs of collusion between the Russian government and the 2016 Trump campaign, and labels her “a certified swamp creature.”
- The New York Post also ties a Biden appointee to the discredited Trump-Russia allegations, saying incoming National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with reporters in the heat of the 2016 election, pushing the rumors of direct cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia.
- In National Review, Antony Blinken is criticized as having “been wrong on nearly every foreign policy issue” for twenty years, including on the foreign policy conventional wisdom of Middle East peace.
- Fox News notes many of the recent appointments have spent time as pundits and contributors on mainstream cable news outlets, while a separate report criticizes what it describes as the media “fawning over” the picks.
© Dallas Gerber, 2020