January 15, 2021
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Opinion

National Recap: Biden and Harris announce all-female communications staff

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced Nov. 29 that members of the incoming administration’s communications staff will be composed of all women.

This is the first time in U.S. history that the communications staff will entirely be made up of women, several of whom are women of color. Jen Psaki will serve as White House press secretary, according to the administration. Psaki previously served as White House communications director and deputy White House press secretary during President Barack Obama’s administration. 

“These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better,” Biden said in a statement.

Kate Bedingfield, who served as deputy campaign manager and communications director for the Biden-Harris campaign, will serve as White House communications director. Bedingfield tweeted Nov. 29 that she is proud to take on the role of communications director.

“Working for him as VP and on this campaign gave me insight into what kind of capable, compassionate, clear-eyed president he will be and it will be a profound honor to be one small part of his work. It will also be an honor to work alongside the incredible women who are taking on these roles together,” Bedingfield wrote.

Symone Sanders, Biden campaign senior adviser, was appointed the role of senior adviser and spokesperson for Harris. Before working on the Biden campaign, Sanders worked as press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Elizabeth Alexander, a Biden campaign senior adviser, will serve as communications director for first lady Jill Biden. Ashley Etienne, former communications director for Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will become Harris’ communications director. 

Karine Jean Pierre, Harris’ chief of staff during the presidential campaign, was appointed the role of principal deputy press secretary. Pili Tobar was announced as deputy White House communications director. Tobar formerly worked as deputy director for America’s Voice and Hispanic media director for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to CNN.

Harris said that by appointing these women, the administration is trying to build a team that reflects the people of the United States.

“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. These communications professionals express our commitment to building a White House that reflects the very best of our nation.”

John Turner can be reached at jturner3@ithaca.edu