Biden announces senior White House staff

Transition Tracker Daily by Ballotpedia

Welcome to Ballotpedia’s Transition Tracker

November 18, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. The Electoral College will meet on December 14, 2020, to vote for the next president of the United States.

In 2016, there were 1,714 government positions subject to presidential appointment: 1,242 positions required Senate confirmation and 472 did not. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.

Appointments and Nominations

Biden announced nine appointees who will serve as White House senior staff on Wednesday. As previously reported, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Cedric Richmond, and Steve Richhetti will serve as deputy chief of staff, senior advisor, and counselor to the president, respectively.

The six other appointments are as follows:

Anthony Bernal, senior advisor to Dr. Jill Biden

Anthony Bernal was a deputy campaign manager for the Biden presidential campaign and Jill Biden’s chief of staff. He has worked with the Bidens for more than a decade, including as director of scheduling and trip director for Jill Biden during the Obama administration.

Mike Donilon, senior advisor to the president

Mike Donilon was chief strategist for the Biden presidential campaign. Prior to joining the campaign, Donilon was the managing director of the Biden Institute. He has worked on six presidential campaigns.

Dana Remus, White House counsel

Dana Remus was general counsel for the Biden presidential campaign. She previously worked as general counsel for the Obama Foundation. She was also the deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel of ethics during the Obama administration. She clerked for Republican-nominated Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, chief of staff to Dr. Jill Biden

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon served as the U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and deputy assistant secretary of state during the Obama administration. She is a partner at Winston & Strawn and previously worked on the faculty of Columbia Law School and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Julie Chavez Rodriguez was a deputy campaign manager for the Biden presidential campaign. She previously worked on the Harris presidential campaign as the national political director and traveling chief of staff. In the Obama administration, Chavez Rodriguez was a special assistant to the president and senior deputy director of public engagement.

Annie Tomasini, director of Oval Office Operations

Annie Tomasini is Biden’s traveling chief of staff. She has worked for Biden for over a decade, including as his deputy press secretary during the Obama administration and as press secretary when Biden was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


  • NPR reported that John Jones, a former chief of staff to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), is being considered for the position of director of the Office of Management and Budget. Jones also worked as an aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). He is vice president of government relations for the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
  • The Biden Transition is vetting Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) for secretary of the interior, according to The Hill. If selected, she would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary. Haaland’s district, New Mexico’s 1st, is rated Safe Democratic.
  • Biden hired former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki to lead a team overseeing the Senate confirmation process for his nominees. “The new team is also looking to shake up some of the conventions of the Cabinet nomination process, including the code of silence that has traditionally surrounded nominees. Instead, transition staff intend to introduce Biden’s Cabinet picks to the American people before their Senate hearings, which could include media blitzes to build up public support. There’s a risk, however, that the increased exposure could lead to embarrassing gaffes or missteps by nominees,” Politico reported.

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