Ballotpedia’s Weekly Transition Tracker December 24-30, 2020

Prior to taking office on January 20, 2021, President-elect Joe Biden (D) and his team must prepare for the transition between presidential administrations, including selecting senior White House staff and appointees to top government positions.

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.

Appointments and Nominations

Biden announced members of the White House Office of Digital Strategy on Monday. All 12 appointees worked on Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign:

  • Brendan Cohen, platform manager
  • Rob Flaherty, director of digital strategy
  • Maha Ghandour, digital partnerships manager
  • Jonathan Hebert, video director
  • Jaime Lopez, director of platforms
  • Carahna Magwood, creative director
  • Abbey Pitzer, designer
  • Olivia Raisner, traveling content director
  • Rebecca Rinkevich, deputy director of digital strategy
  • Aisha Shah, partnerships manager
  • Christian Tom, deputy director of digital strategy
  • Cameron Trimble, director of digital engagement

News

  • Politico reported that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) is in top consideration for secretary of labor. California Labor Secretary Julie Su (supported by AAPI legislators) and former ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard (supported by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC) are also potential nominees.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on Sunday that the Cabinet should include progressive members. “What I have said many, many times is the progressive movement itself probably is 35 or 40 percent of the Democratic Coalition. And I believe that the progressive movement deserves seats in the Cabinet; that has not yet happened,” he said.
  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (D) received her first dose of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine on Monday.
  • Biden criticized the level of cooperation his team was receiving from certain agencies on Monday. He said, “We’ve encountered roadblocks from the political leadership in the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget. Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas.”
  • Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller (R) responded in a statement, “The Department of Defense has conducted 164 interviews with over 400 officials, and provided over 5,000 pages of documents – far more than initially requested by Biden’s transition team.”

Transition in Context

Biden announced his pick for secretary of education 49 days after the general election, later than both Presidents Donald Trump (R) and Barack Obama (D) for this Cabinet position announcement.

Biden has yet to announce nominees for five Cabinet-level positions. With the exception of the director of the CIA, both Trump and Obama had announced nominees for these positions at this point in their transitions.

What We’re Reading




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