Joe Biden, the US president-elect, made another sharp break from Donald Trump on Tuesday by naming a White House senior staff that “looks like America”, including several women and people of colour.
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Trump has been criticised for running the most white and male administration since Ronald Reagan. There are currently four women and 19 men in cabinet or cabinet-level positions. Picks for the federal judiciary are also dominated by white men.
But Biden and Kamala Harris, who will be the first female and first Black vice-president, have promised to build a team to reflect shifting demographics. Tuesday’s first wave of appointments included five women and four people of colour.
Jen O’Malley Dillon will be White House deputy chief of staff. The 44-year-old, who as campaign manager was the first woman to lead a winning Democratic presidential bid, will work under Ron Klain, anointed chief of staff last week.
Cedric Richmond, a national co-chair of Biden’s campaign and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, will quit the House of Representatives to join as a senior adviser and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Dana Remus, the campaign’s top lawyer, will be senior counsel to the president. Longtime advisers Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti will be senior adviser and counsellor to the president respectively.
Julie Chavez Rodriguez, one of Biden’s deputy campaign managers and the granddaughter of the farmworker union leader César Chávez, will be director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Annie Tomasini, currently Biden’s traveling chief of staff, will be director of Oval Office operations.
In a statement, Biden’s transition team said: “These diverse, experienced, and talented individuals demonstrate President-elect Biden’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America.”
It also quoted Biden as saying: “America faces great challenges, and they bring diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to tackling these challenges and emerging on the other side a stronger, more united nation.”
The appointments reward many of the advisers who helped Biden beat Trump in the 3 November election. Biden won the national popular vote by at least 5.6m votes, or 3.6 points, and in the state-by-state electoral college secured 306 votes to 232.
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The announcement also reflected Biden’s determination to press ahead with a transition despite Trump’s increasingly tenuous effort to reverse the election.
The former vice-president was due to discuss national security threats on Tuesday with his own advisers, rather than government officials, as the Trump administration has blocked him from receiving the classified briefings normally accorded to a president-elect.
Emily Murphy, the general services administrator, has not