Jennifer Psaki, a veteran Democratic spokeswoman, will be Joe Biden’s White House press secretary, one of seven women who will fill the upper ranks of his administration’s communications staff.
It is the first time that all of the top aides tasked with speaking on behalf of an administration and shaping its message will be female.
Biden’s press team will be led by Kate Bedingfield, a longtime Biden aide who served as his campaign communications director and will hold the same title in his White House.
Biden will also break several barriers on key economic policy positions, including the nomination of Neera Tanden as director of the influential Office of Management and Budget.
Tanden, the chief executive of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, would be the first woman of color to oversee OMB.
Biden also is expected to appoint Princeton University labor economist Cecilia Rouse as chair of the three-member Council of Economic Advisers, with economists Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey serving as the other members.
Rouse would be the first woman of color to chair the council.
“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.
“These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better,” he added.
The new team includes women with deep ties to Biden.
Some worked on his presidential campaign, and others held top roles in the Obama administration.
All have long track records in key Washington roles and promise to usher in a more stable era of White House communications.
Biden’s operation decided to announce the women as a group to signal that the various top administration offices will coordinate closely, said Anita Dunn, a top Biden campaign aide.
The all-female team will also bring women into a space often dominated by male voices.
“The odds are very high that if it’s a story about the Biden administration, any aspect of it, at least one quote in the story will be from a woman,” Dunn said.
Psaki, who did a stint as White House communications director under President Barack Obama, will become the face of the new Biden administration.
She has been working on the transition team, and she has also served as a spokeswoman for then-Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who will serve in the Biden administration as a special envoy for climate.
“When she steps to that mic, she brings not only a sense of gravitas, but fact, transparency and honesty. And even a sense of comfort,” said Minyon Moore, who is a member of the Biden-Harris transition advisory board.
Rounding out the White House press team will be Karine Jean-Pierre, a campaign adviser and former top official with the liberal group MoveOn, as principal deputy press secretary.
Pili Tobar, who worked for America’s Voice, a liberal immigration reform group, and was a staffer for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), will become deputy White House communications director.
Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris’s communications director will be Ashley Etienne, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign who served as a communications director to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, will become the chief spokeswoman to Harris.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
The head of the incoming East Wing communications team, who will work with Jill Biden, was also named: Elizabeth E. Alexander, a former campaign adviser and former federal prosecutor, will be the first lady’s communications director.
Biden has pledged to select senior White House staff and administration officials who reflect America.
“President-elect Biden has a history of advocating on behalf of women in the U.S. and around the world, and today’s announcement is a continuation of that work,” said Ron Klain, who will be Biden’s chief of staff. “They embody Joe Biden’s commitment to a diverse administration where the voices of all Americans are represented.”