Katherine Tai is Biden’s reported pick for U.S. trade representative

December 10, 2020: Joe Biden is expected to nominate Katherine Tai for U.S. trade representative.

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. The new administration is also responsible for filling thousands of other positions across the federal government, including in operations and policy. Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking potential Cabinet nominees, appointments, and news related to the Biden presidential transition.


  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden will nominate Katherine Tai for U.S. trade representative. Tai is currently the chief trade counsel for Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee and worked at the U.S. trade representative’s office from 2007 to 2014.
  • Politico reported that the majority of Biden’s staff is working remotely rather than making use of space provided to them in the Commerce Department and the Pentagon following the General Service Administration’s ascertainment of the election. This decision is part of the transition’s COVID-19 protocol to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks. 
  • Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) are on the shortlist for U.S. attorney general, according to The Washington Post.
  • In a statement posted on the Biden Transition website, Hunter Biden said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is investigating his tax dealings. Joe Biden is not implicated in the investigation.

Transition in Context: Do Cabinet members become president?

The following chart shows the highest position held by each president before he assumed office. While some presidents have served in several roles throughout their career, including being members of the U.S. House or U.S. Senate, we’re looking at the top-ranking office for each.

Six presidents were Cabinet members, but the last one to be elected was Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover in 1928. Four of the other five were secretaries of state. The vice presidency and governorships are the most frequent direct steppingstones to the presidency. 

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