Biden selects Fauci for chief medical adviser

December 4, 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci will remain director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and serve as chief medical adviser in the Biden administration.

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

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council

Biden announced that he was appointing Brian Deese to director of the National Economic Council. Deese was a deputy director of the council during the Obama administration. He also was a senior advisor to Obama and deputy director and acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.


  • Biden said on Thursday that he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to remain in his administration as chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci confirmed on Friday that he had accepted the offer.
  • The Washington Post reported that Biden chose Dr. Vivek Murthy for U.S. surgeon general. Murthy previously held the position in the Obama administration.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said on Thursday that she was not taking a spot in Biden’s administration as secretary of health and human services. “My focus is right here in Rhode Island, as I have said. I’m working 24/7 to keep Rhode Islanders safe and keep our economy moving, and I have nothing else to add on that topic,” she said.
  • Bloomberg reported that New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declined an offer to join the Biden administration as secretary of the interior, preferring instead the post of secretary of health and human services. “The Biden team read that — paired with the lack of Latina candidates for other cabinet-level posts — as an effort to force their hand and soured on her candidacy, the person said,” Bloomberg continued.
  • Joining Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Marcia Fudge as candidates for agriculture secretary are USDA veteran Kathleen Merrigan, former United Farm Workers union leader Arturo Rodriguez, and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Politico reported. 

Transition in Context: In Their Words…

Here’s how Democratic and Republican leaders and advisers have reacted to the nomination of Neera Tanden for director of the Office of Management and Budget.

  • “[Tanden] grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced firsthand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.” – Valerie Jarrett (D), former director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • “She’s been pretty partisan in some of her previous positions. And in many cases, with respect to Republican senators who would have to vote on her potential nomination.” – Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) 
  • “I just think she’s gonna be radioactive.” – Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)
  • “Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump, who has made a hobby out of denigrating Republicans on Twitter.” – Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • “I don’t know anyone personally in Bernie world who is happy about this choice. We’re talking about a woman who’s notorious for assaulting Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager,” Briahna Joy Gray (D), Bernie Sanders’ former national press secretary

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