Biden announces all-female White House communications team
President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday unveiled what his transition team says is the first entirely female White House communications team in U.S. history.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced the members of their White House senior communications staff, calling the women “diverse, experienced, and talented.”
“Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a President, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House,” Biden said in a statement.
The Biden team named Jen Psaki, who currently oversees confirmations for the transition team, as White House press secretary. It cited her experience as White House communications director, deputy White House communications director and deputy White House press secretary during the Obama administration.
Psaki released a statement in response to the news, saying she was “honored to work again for @JoeBiden.”
Honored to work again for @JoeBiden, a man I worked on behalf of during the Obama-Biden Admin as he helped lead economic recovery, rebuilt our relationships with partners (turns out good practice) and injected empathy and humanity into nearly every meeting I sat in.
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) November 29, 2020
The president-elect also announced Kate Bedingfield as White House communications director. She had served as the deputy campaign manager and communications director for the campaign. Bedingfield previously worked as the communications director for Biden when he was vice president, among other roles in the Obama White House.
I’m unspeakably proud to have the opportunity to serve as White House Communications Director for @joebiden. Working for him as VP and on this campaign gave me insight into what kind of capable, compassionate, clear-eyed president he will be and it will be a profound honor to 1/
— Kate Bedingfield (@KBeds) November 29, 2020
Karine Jean-Pierre will become the principal deputy press secretary, and Pili Tobar will be the deputy White House communications director, the transition team said.
Jean-Pierre, a former NBC and MSNBC political analyst, served as a senior adviser to Biden and the chief of staff to Harris during the campaign, while Tobar worked as the communications director for coalitions on the campaign.
“These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better,” Biden said in a statement.
Biden’s team also named Ashley Etienne, a senior adviser on the campaign, as the communications director for Harris once she is inaugurated as vice president. Etienne was previously the first woman and person of color to serve as the communications director and senior adviser to the House Speaker.
Symone Sanders, who formerly was the press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign, is slated to become the senior adviser and chief spokeswoman for the vice president.
Sanders had worked on the Biden campaign as a senior adviser after switching from the Vermont senator’s campaign in April 2019.
Also AN ALL LADY SQUAD?! I am excited to serve alongside @AshleyEtienne09, my battle buddy @KBeds, @jrpsaki, @pilitobar87 and @EAlexander332. We each take our service seriously and are elated to get to work for the people and build back better! Lets go ladies!
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) November 29, 2020
The Biden team said Elizabeth Alexander will become the communications director for soon-to-be first lady Jill Biden.
Honored & humbled to join @DrBiden and her growing team as she charts her own historic path forward as the next FLOTUS. And so proud be part of this group of hard-working pros and strategic communicators @KBeds @AshleyEtienne09 @K_JeanPierre @jrpsaki @SymoneDSanders @pilitobar87
— Elizabeth Alexander (@EAlexander332) November 29, 2020
The vice president-elect also praised the newly declared communications team in a statement, saying they “express our commitment to building a White House that reflects the very best of our nation.”
“Our country is facing unprecedented challenges — from the coronavirus pandemic to the economic crisis, to the climate crisis, and a long-overdue reckoning over racial injustice,” Harris said. “To overcome these challenges, we need to communicate clearly, honestly, and transparently with the American people, and this experienced, talented, and barrier-shattering team will help us do that.”